Broad-spectrum antibiotics increase risk of obesity in children below 2

Study shows that children given broad-spectrum antibiotics were two times more likely to be obese than other children

 
By Jemima Rohekar
Last Updated: Monday 17 August 2015

imageThe use of broad-spectrum antibiotics in children under the age of 24 months is associated with an increased risk of obesity in early childhood, says a study published in JAMA Pediatrics. Broad-spectrum antibiotics are effective against a wide range of bacteria and are administered in a variety of medical situations.

The study was based on previous research which suggested that obesity is associated with intestinal micro flora, which is the presence of a community of microorganisms in the digestive tracts. Antibiotics attack both disease-causing and harmless bacteria in the intestines, affecting microbial diversity and composition. 

The study was conducted by L Charles Bailey and his colleagues of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, USA. The team studied the doctors’ visits of 64,580 children, following up with them until they were five years old. 

Sixty-nine per cent of the children had been exposed to antibiotics before the age of 24 months with an average exposure of 2.3 episodes per child. In children with more than four exposures to broad-spectrum antibiotics, the researchers observed an increased risk of obesity. No association was seen between obesity and narrow-spectrum antibiotics. 

In children given broad-spectrum antibiotics, the prevalence of being overweight/obese was 23 per cent at age two years, 30 per cent at three years and 33 per cent at four years, at least two times the prevalence of obesity in all children.

The findings of the study support the adoption of specific treatment guidelines for common paediatric conditions which recommend using antibiotics only when required. They also support the preference for narrow-spectrum antibiotics (that target specific types of bacteria), unless broad-spectrum antibiotics are specifically indicated.

 


Global, regional, and national prevalence of overweight and obesity in children and adults during 1980–2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013

Association of all-cause mortality with overweight and obesity using standard body mass index categories

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.

  • Watch "Fed up (2014) shows

    Watch "Fed up (2014) shows how the first dietary guidelines issued by the U.S. government 30 years ago overlooked the role of dietary sugar in increasing risks of obesity, diabetes, and associated ill-health outcomes, particularly in children. Since these guidelines effectively condoned unlimited addition of sugar to foods consumed by children, sugar consumption has greatly increased, obesity has skyrocketed, and generations of children have grown up far fatter than their parents. These children face impaired health and shorter lifespans as a result.[6][7] As the relationship between the high-sugar diet and poor health has emerged, entrenched sugar industry interests with almost unlimited financial lobbying resources have beaten back attempts by parents, schools, states, and in Congress to provide a healthier diet for children.

    Watch Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71j8TPwkTQE

    Posted by: Anonymous | 6 years ago | Reply