Taking Antibiotics Makes Children More Susceptible To Gaining Weight, Study Says

More than 333,000 youngsters were included in the research

More than 333,000 youngsters were included in the research

Researchers said the drugs may alter gut bacteria, making a child more susceptible to weight gain.

The composition of gut bacteria - known as the microbiome - has been linked to various aspects of human health, including obesity.

The study examined antibiotic and antacid prescriptions for 333,353 children in their first two years and followed their medical records up to the age of eight.

Just over 14 per cent of the children became obese, of whom 11 per cent had not been prescribed any antibiotics or acid suppressants.

Taking antibiotics as a child has been linked to a higher risk of obesity, especially if taken for long periods, a new study has found.

Nearly three-quarters (72.4%) had been prescribed an antibiotic, while 39,488 (11.8%) had been prescribed an H2RA and 11,089 (3.3%) a PPI.

Boys, those born after a caesarean section, and those whose parents were below officer rank were more likely to become obese.

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Obesity risk after a prescription of antibiotics or PPI medication manifests from age three, the average age at which obesity was identified for the first time in the children studied.

They also looked at antacids - used to curb excessive stomach acid - taken in the first two years of life and found they may have an effect, though less pronounced than other prescriptions.

Antacids - drugs taken to curb excessive stomach acid - taken in the first two years of life may also have an effect, though much smaller, researchers from the United States found.

Dr Max Davie of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said the U.S. research did not take into account other causes of child obesity such as their home environment or mother's weight.

And the researchers emphasise that the links between the individual, the environment, and obesity are complex, highlighting the "current difficulty of drawing clear conclusions about the interplay between exposure history, gut microbiota and propensity to develop obesity".

The researchers concluded that while these medications play an essential therapeutic role, it's important to weigh their short-term benefits against the long-term risks.

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