On average, about four-fifths of Americans each year are prescribed antibiotics. For years, many have assumed that the increased use of antibiotics directly relates to a higher risk of childhood obesity. The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology study believes otherwise.
According to the Hindustan Times, children who had no antibiotic use and were diagnosed with an infection during their first few months were roughly 25% more likely to have obesity issues.
“In previous studies, antibiotics used to treat intact infections have been associated with weight gain,” said De-Kun Li, lead researcher and epidemiologist at the Kaiser Permanente in California. “However, we separated the two factors and found that antibiotics do not, themselves, appear to be associated with childhood obesity.”
The study reviewed over 260,000 births over a 16-year period, from 1997 to 2013. Infections and the use of antibiotics have shown influences regarding the composition of micro-organisms inside the intestine.
“Our study is one of the largest analyses of the interplay among infections, antibiotic use, and childhood obesity,” added Li, “and adds important evidence on how the micro biome, or guy bacteria, may be affecting children’s development.”
The Los Angeles Times reports that once children are a little older (after six years of age) the fight against childhood obesity should continue inside of doctors’ offices with regular weight screening.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is urging pediatricians to examine the body mass index (BMI) of children to better identify kids who are more susceptible to obesity problems, and to begin “comprehensive, intensive, and behavioral” weight counseling programs.
Children who suffer from obesity issues, whether they’re in their first few years or later in life, can suffer from serious health issues like asthma, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, as well as psychological and mental health problems.