Treating babies, who are less than 6 months old, with antibiotics consistently increases their body mass, putting them at a risk of being overweight when they are just over 3 years old, suggests a new study.
The study, conducted by researchers at the NYU School of Medicine and the NYU Wagner School of Public Service, evaluated the associations of antibiotic exposures and body mass at different points of time in a total of 11,532 children born in Avon, United Kingdom, during 1991 and 1992.
There were three different periods during which the children were exposed to antibiotics - less than 6 months, 6 months to 14 months; and, finally from 15 to 23 months. There were five time points when the body mass was examined - 6 weeks, 10 months, 20 months, 38 months and 7 years.
According to the researchers, exposure of babies less than 6 months of age to antibiotics was consistently associated with increased body mass. Exposure from 6 to 14 months showed no association with body mass, while exposure from 15 to 23 months was significantly associated with increased body mass index.
Jan Blustein, professor of population health and medicine at the NYU Wagner School of Public Service, noted that "while further studies are needed to confirm the findings, this carefully conducted study suggests that antibiotics influence weight gain in humans, and especially children too."
The study is published August 21, 2012, in the online issue of the International Journal of Obesity.
by RTT Staff Writer
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