Antibiotic Exposure in Infancy May Lead to Overweight Children

Despite best efforts, global authorities are experiencing a massive fail in their quest to reduce unnecessary antibiotic usage.


I’m a nerd. So this made me laugh. A LOT.


A recent study found that 8 in 10 Americans had received an antibiotic prescription in the past year.

  • As antibiotics are only to be used in SOME bacterial infections, I find it hard to believe that the rate of bacterial infections in the States was over 80%;
  • I am not pointing the finger at healthcare professionals/ patients/ parents… I blame everyone because everyone is to blame (there’s some logic right there baby!);
  • So for those parents who don’t consider antibiotic resistance a threat (obviously they didn’t spend their spare time checking out the CDC’s website on Antibiotic & Antimicrobial Resistance… Read it when you have time, it really is fun and light-hearted)… Maybe this will get them thinking…

Studies are showing that antibiotic exposure in infancy leads to overweight children.

  • A study of >12,000 healthy Finnish children (followed from birth to 2 years of age) found that children exposed to antibiotics during that period were heavier than children without exposure (the effect was particularly pronounced after exposure to macrolides before 6 months of age);
  • Another study in Canada (eh) found that infants receiving antibiotics in their first year were more likely to be overweight up to the age of 9 years;
  • Before you cry “confounders!”, the results were adjusted for birth weight, breastfeeding, maternal obesity, and other potential confounders.

The cause? Obesity is associated with disruption of the gut microbiota, which is what happens when you take antibiotics.

So PARENTS, even if you don’t care about antibiotic resistance, CARE ABOUT HAVING A FAT CHILD INSTEAD and only use antibiotics when they’re indicated.

Definitely too many antibiotics.

Definitely too many antibiotics.

Saari A, Virta LJ, Sankilampi U, Dunkel L, Saxen H. Antibiotic exposure in infancy and risk of being overweight in the first 24 months of life. Pediatrics. 2015 Apr;135(4):617-26. doi: 10.1542/peds.2014-3407.
Azad MB, Bridgman SL, Becker AB, Kozyrskyj AL. Infant antibiotic exposure and the development of childhood overweight and central adiposity. Int J Obes (Lond). 2014 Oct;38(10):1290-8. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2014.119. Epub 2014 Jul 11.
Hicks LA, Bartoces MG, Roberts RM, Suda KJ, Hunkler RJ, Taylor TH Jr, Schrag SJ. US Outpatient Antibiotic Prescribing Variation According to Geography, Patient Population, and Provider Specialty in 2011. Clin Infect Dis. 2015 May 1;60(9):1308-16. doi: 10.1093/cid/civ076. Epub 2015 Mar 5.

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