Giving babies antibiotics may seem harmless. Even so, antibiotics don’t have the miracle-cure reputation they once had. New research suggests giving antibiotics to infants may increase the obesity risk. And this is not the only health problem infants treated with antibiotics have to face.
The study was published in The Journal of Obesity this Tuesday. Scientists from N.Y.U. analyzed 11,532 children from the U.K., checking their height, weight and antibiotics babies took. During seven years, researchers noticed giving babies antibiotics in their first 6 months increases obesity risk by 22 percent. But within the next 2.5 years, all weight problems disappeared.
Researchers explain antibiotics cause an imbalance in children’s system. “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” said Dr. Leonardo Trasande, primary study author and associate professor in pediatrics at New York University for ABC News.
The risks of giving infants antibiotics include other health problems, but overweight is the most common. So, why would anyone risk giving babies antibiotics? The study doesn’t mean that antibiotics should never be used on children. The problem is that antibiotics are often used inappropriately.
Dr. Richard J. Deckelbaum, professor of nutrition, pediatrics, and epidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center, stated: “I think that generally antibiotics are quick, frequently overused by practitioners to treat viral infection”.
Other experts even suggest that the risk of giving children antibiotics could be higher than predicted. Many of the side-effects are long term and lead to an imbalance of gut bacteria that brings about obesity, asthma and inflammatory bowel disease.
However, the findings shed some light on other kind of factors that can lead to obesity. This way, obesity can be prevented better.
“This will affect our thinking about the obesity epidemic. We typically consider obesity an epidemic grounded in unhealthy diet and exercise, yet increasingly studies suggest it’s more complicated” study researcher Dr. Leonardo Trasande, associate professor of pediatrics and environmental medicine at New York University School of Medicine, said in a statement for NBC.