Antibiotics linked to child obesity

The association was not seen in children who had received multiple courses of narrow-spectrum antibiotics, suggesting that antibiotic prescribing could be a modifiable risk factor for childhood obesity, the authors said.

US researchers from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia looked at primary care data from nearly 65,000 children from 2001 to 2013, finding that nearly 70% of children had received oral antibiotics by the age of two, with most children being exposed to about 2.3 antibiotic treatment episodes.  

Compared to children who had no exposure, children exposed to four or more doses of any type of antibiotic had an 11% increased relative risk of obesity at the age of five.

When the researchers stratified the data according to narrow- or broad-spectrum antibiotic exposure, they found a 16% increased relative risk of obesity among those children exposed to four or more courses of broad-spectrum antibiotics.

However, the