In a latest story published regarding child obesity, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) stresses the importance of the role of parents and pediatricians in helping children maintain a healthy lifestyle. The story tackles three ideas that contribute to preventing obesity in children: On Sweets, Availability of healthy foods and beverages and Physical activity.
Today, another idea has made itself to the list - intake of antibiotics.
Scientists at the New York University (NYU) School of Medicine discovered that the children taking in antibiotics can potentially become obese.
"By using antibiotics, we found we can actually manipulate the population of bacteria and alter how they metabolize certain nutrients," said Dr. Ilseung Cho, MD, MS, first author of the study and assistant professor of medicine and associate program director for the Division of Gastroenterology at NYU.
The researchers were able to affect body composition and development in young mice when they changed the mice's gut microbiome.
In the study, the researchers used DNA sampling and administered two of the most popularly prescribed child antibiotics in three short courses - one of which is amoxicillin. The same dose that an average human take was used on the drugs administered to the young mice.
The researchers observed the mice that received antibiotics and set aside mice that did not receive the drugs for comparison. They noticed that after receiving antibiotics, the fat mass and percent body fat of the mice increased. Comparing the weight of the mice that took in antibiotics from those that did not, the researchers found that after six weeks, the antibiotic recipients gained weight 10 to 15 percent more fat mass. Bone density increased, and metabolism-related hormones were affected.
"This work shows the importance of the early life microbiome in conditions like obesity," emphasizes senior author Martin Blaser, MD, Frederick King Professor of Medicine NYU Langone Medical Center's Department of Medicine chair.
He further stresses how widespread obesity has become due to the use of antibiotics. He points out the importance of the study published in Nature Communications, in explaining how a child's use of antibiotics can now have greater effects in obesity in the future.
It is said that last year, 64,500 children were analyzed. Among those who have been taking in antibiotics, at least four times before the age of two, were more possibly to be obese by the time they reach the age of five.