Breaking News – Antibiotics linked with childhood obesity

By Dr Karen Coates

The distinguished American medical journal JAMA has published a large study concluding a strong link between antibiotic use before the age of 24 months and a doubling of the risk of childhood obesity.

baby on tummy with pigtails.jpg

An estimated 15 percent of 4 year olds are classified as obese. This increases to 33% in children treated with a broad-spectrum antibiotic before the age of 2 years. And the more times antibiotics are used, the higher the incidence.

As with most things healthy, the domino effect creating this worrying finding starts with the alteration in bowel bacteria caused by antibiotics.

The solution? Most doctors are now more discerning about the use of antibiotics for children in light of the worrying trend of antibiotic resistance and less likely to hand out those scripts. Viral infections, the cause of most childhood fevers and illness, will get better with simple things like plenty of fluids and good nutritional support.

For those children who have had a necessary course of antibiotics, this study is a deal breaker when it comes to the decision to follow-up with probiotic support. Replace those good bacteria with a baby-friendly probiotic. Starve the bad bacteria by denying them their favorite food, SUGAR!

Interestingly I have found that adults who I work with to improve bowel health will often find weight easier to manage. This makes perfect sense in light of this major study.


L. Charles Bailey, et al. Association of Antibiotics in Infancy With Early Childhood Obesity. JAMA Pediatrics, 2014

Joe Alcock, et al. Is eating behavior manipulated by the gastrointestinal microbiota? Evolutionary pressures and potential mechanisms. BioEssays, 2014;

Anni Woting, et al. Clostridium ramosum Promotes High-Fat Diet-Induced Obesity in Gnotobiotic Mouse Models. mBio, September 2014

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