Toddlers are more prone to infections and most parents use antibiotics as the first line of treatment. But administering babies with two or three courses of antibiotics before they reach an age of two can make them obese, revealed a new study.
The study published in the Journal of Gastroenterology
was conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania. They performed a large population-representative cohort study in the United Kingdom to examine the link between antibiotic exposure before age 2 and obesity at the age of 4 years.
‘Administration of three or more courses of antibiotics before children reach an age of 2 years is associated with an increased risk of early childhood obesity.’
Researcher Frank Irving Scott said, "Antibiotics have been used to promote weight gain in livestock for several decades, and our research confirms that antibiotics have the same effects on humans."
"Our results do not imply that antibiotics should not be used when necessary, but rather encourage both doctors and parents to think twice about antibiotic usage in infants in the absence of well-established indications."
They found that children who were given antibiotics before the age of 2 had a 1.2% absolute risk and 25% of relative increase in risk for childhood obesity.
Dr Scott added, "Our work supports the theory that antibiotics may progressively alter the composition and function of the gut microbiome, thereby predisposing children to obesity as is seen in livestock and animal models."