Antibiotics may make children obese

Washington: Exposing very young infants to antibiotics may cause them to bloat up in childhood, says a new research based on 11,532 children.

Researchers from the New York University (NYU) School of Medicine and and its Wagner School of Public Service found that, on an average, children exposed to antibiotics from birth to five months of age weighed more for their height than children who were not exposed to antibiotics.

A fat conscious toddler has her weight checked on a weighing machine. Getty Images

Between the ages of 10 to 20 months, this translated into small increases in body mass percentile, based on models that incorporated the potential impacts of diet, physical activity and parental obesity, the International Journal of Obesity reports.

By 38 months, exposed children had a 22 percent greater likelihood of being overweight.

However, the timing of exposure mattered: children exposed from six months to 14 months did not have significantly higher body mass than children who did not receive antibiotics in that same time period, according to a New York statement.

The NYU School of Medicine researchers, led by Leonardo Trasande, associate professor of paediatrics and environmental medicine and Jan Blustein, professor of population health and medicine, caution that the study only shows that a correlation between antibiotics and obesity exists.

"We typically consider obesity an epidemic grounded in unhealthy diet and exercise, yet increasingly studies suggest it is more complicated," said Trasande.

"Microbes in our intestines may play critical roles in how we absorb calories, and exposure to antibiotics, especially early in life, may kill off healthy bacteria that influence how we absorb nutrients into our bodies, and would otherwise keep us lean," said Trasande.

This is the first time that a study has analysed the association between the use of antibiotics and body mass starting in infancy.


Updated Date: Aug 22, 2012 15:30 PM

Also Watch

It's A Wrap: Omerta star Rajkummar Rao in conversation with Parul Sharma
  • Thursday, April 26, 2018 In the Kanjarbhat community, a campaign against 'virginity tests' is slowly gaining ground
  • Thursday, April 19, 2018 Watch: National-level skater and coach Dhwanit Rele trains and nurtures budding athletes
  • Monday, May 14, 2018 FOMO Episode 1: Google Assistant, This is America, Sonam's wedding & Global Warming
  • Saturday, May 19, 2018 Social Media Star: Rajkummar Rao and Bhuvan Bam open up about selfie culture, online trolls