News article

Antibiotic use before 2 years linked to obesity risk

Posted:  Tuesday, October 07, 2014

The root of weighty issues in adulthood could be found in infancy. A new research has found that broad-spectrum antibiotics, if used before 2 years of an infant’s life may heighten the risk of obesity in early childhood. Antibiotic-linked change in the gut microflora diversity and composition is thought to be the reason behind the risk.

In the research study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, the authors examined electronic health records of children from 2001 to 2013 from a network of primary care clinics. Children with annual visits at ages 0–23 months, as well as one or more visit at ages 24–59 months were enrolled in the study. A total of 64,580 children were part of the study and they were followed-up till the age of 5 years.

The study found that about 69% of the children were exposed to antibiotics before 2 years of age with an average exposure of 2.3 episodes per child. Interestingly, the authors found that the risk of obesity increased with greater antibiotic use, especially in children with 4 or more exposures. This effect was evident when all antibiotics or broad-spectrum antibiotic use were examined. However, no association was found between obesity and the use of narrow-spectrum antibiotics.

Speaking about the study, the researchers said, “Our results suggest that the use of broad-spectrum outpatient antibiotics before age 24 months may be one factor. This provides additional support for the adoption of treatment guidelines for common pediatric conditions that emphasize limiting antibiotic use to cases where efficacy is well demonstrated and preferring narrow-spectrum drugs in the absence of specific indications for broader coverage.”

Obesity is snowballing in to a major health concern and previous studies have identified the association of the gut microflora in obesity. In lieu with the present findings, physicians need to be judicious in their use of antibiotics during infancy.

For study details:-Click Here!