Frequent Antibiotics Raises Obesity Risk for Kids
Taking antibiotics during childhood may have long-term effects on body weight lasting into adulthood, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.
Researchers analyzed pediatric medical records from 2001 to 2012 of 163,820 children aged 3 to 18.
Their findings, published in the International Journal of Obesity, showed that one in five children were prescribed antibiotics seven or more times. When those children reached age 15, they weighed an average of three pounds more than children with no antibiotic prescriptions.
This study builds on previous research that relied on the mother’s memories of her child’s antibiotic history.
Scientists have been aware for quite some time that antibiotics promote weight gain in livestock, which is why antibiotics are commonly used in the diets of animals from large food producers.
Researchers have yet to determine the precise cause of weight gain, but they believe it has to do with antibiotics wiping out healthy bacteria in a child’s body, leading to permanent changes in gut bacteria and affecting how food is broken down and absorbed.