Could giving your baby antibiotics too early set them up for obesity?
That's what one study wanted to find out!
So they tested it, and the infants exposed to antibiotics during the first six months of their lives are 22 percent more likely to be overweight between the ages of 10 months and 3 years — but their weight tends to return to average by the time they are 7.
One doctor explains why:
"Unnecessary antibiotic use can disrupt healthy bacteria that live in our intestine. If we have a disruption in the microbes in this gut, it can lead to over-absorption of calories and obesity."
This wasn't some small study, either — 11,532 children from the United Kingdom whose parents agreed to the study before the babies were born were studied. They checked the height, weight and antibiotics use of these children at birth, and then after approximately 7 weeks, 10 months, 20 months, 38 months and 7 years.
That's a loooong study!
Clearly this doesn't mean to never give your baby antibiotics. If your baby needs them, they need them.
They even took into account other factors, such as the weight of a baby's parents, whether the mother smoked while pregnant, the parents' socioeconomic status and what the baby ate… and the relationship between antibiotic use in these infants and their weight gain remained.
The researcher continued:
"This will affect our thinking about the obesity epidemic. This study suggests the need to shift the paradigm from thinking simply about diet and exercise to other environmental exposures."
What we SHOULD be watching out for is the unnecessary and quick use of antibiotics:
"I think that generally antibiotics are quick, frequently overused by practitioners to treat viral infection. I think that practitioners have to be aware of these findings. It's fast to write a prescription rather that to wait through a viral infection. It's another cautionary paper about not overusing antibiotics in young children."
Not everything needs a dose, parents!
Only use if needed!
[Image via AP Images.]