Obesity risk rises if antibiotics given before age two

The research in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics is the latest to find a link between weight problems and antibiotics, which can eliminate bacterial infections but also the beneficial intestinal microflora that colonizes the gut.
Experts at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia looked at health records from nearly 65,000 children who were treated at primary care clinics from 2001 to 2013. Those included in the study were followed for five years.
More than two thirds of the kids studied were exposed to antibiotics before age two. The increase in obesity risk ranged from two to 20 percent and was seen particularly in children who had been treated with antibiotics four or more times by age two.
Those given broad-spectrum antibiotics, which target a range of bacteria, were also at higher risk of weight problems in childhood.

"No association was seen between obesity and narrow-spectrum antibiotics," said the study, which described the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics in children under two as "one factor" in whether a child develops obesity.

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