Giving babies antibiotics could make them obese later
London: Babies given antibiotics before they were six months were more likely to be overweight by the age of three, a British study has found.
A study of around 11,000 British children found that those given the drugs before they were six months old had a bigger body mass index (BMI) than their peers, the Daily Mail reported.
By the time they were three, the children given antibiotics were 22 percent more likely to be overweight.
Those given medicines between six and 14 months did not have significantly higher body mass than children who did not receive any in that period.
"Microbes in our intestines may play critical roles in how we absorb calories, and exposure to antibiotics, especially early in life, may kill off healthy bacteria that influence how we absorb nutrients into our bodies, and would otherwise keep us lean," said Leonardo Trasande, a professor of New York University.
Trasande, however, said the study published online in the International Journal of Obesity does not prove antibiotics in early life causes young children to be overweight.
It only shows a correlation exists and further studies will need to be conducted to explore the issue of a direct causal link, he said.
One previous study had identified a link between antibiotic use in early infancy and obesity at seven years of age. But it was unable to examine potential impacts of antibiotic use later in infancy on body weight in childhood.