There are many studies carried on the topic “Whether antibiotics are directly linked to childhood obesity or not”
It has been found that children who were given repeated courses of antibiotics were at a higher risk of gaining weight. Some researchers say that children who have had more than four courses of antibiotics by the age of four are at a higher risk of being obese in adulthood. Others say that that this does not prove that obesity is caused by antibiotics. Many explanations have been given for this reason.
How antibiotics are linked to obesity?
A study of many children in America was conducted by American years for about 12 years. This study revealed that children who were given more than four courses of antibiotics by the time they were 24 months old, were at 10% higher risk of being obese than those who were administered two courses of antibiotics till the child was two years.
It is not only the number of courses of antibiotics that had the effect; it was the type of antibiotics that made the difference too. Children who were given a targeted drug for a particular bug were at a lesser risk to obesity. Other children who were given antibiotics at a broad spectrum to kill several bacteria at a time were more likely to put on weight.
Researchers haverevealed that over prescribing of in appropriate antibiotics can have a wrong impact on the growth of the child. Antibiotics may kill some normal bacteria in the gut which are responsible for weight in the right direction. It may also make the bacteria responsible for wrong metabolism become more active.
Infants given antibiotics in their first three months of life were at a risk to obesity. The study gives evidence to show that antibiotics administered in early years definitely has a part to play in obesity.
The study emphasises on the importance of diagnosis tests, in order to prescribe targeted antibiotics which will help in killing just the disease causing bacteria and will have minimum effect of bacteria in the gut.
Drawbacks in the study
The experts acknowledged that the study had limitations, as they failed to look at the children’s weight or exercise routine. They have intentions to find out what is the influence of the child’s lifestyle factors ontheir findings.
The study can make parents reluctant to give antibiotics to their children.
It is believed that the key risk factor of obesity INS over consumption of high energy, improper food and lack of exercise.
Experiments on mice
The scientists in a separate study in America on mice reported that there is a species of gut bacteria that can promote weight gain in mice. The weight increased in these mice when they were given extra high fat diet. The mice that did not have the bacteria did not put on weight even after high calorie diets. The scientists in Germany are now trying to understand how bacteria can effect digestion.
Conclusion – It is a very clear understanding that the first two years of life is shifts in diet, growth and establishment of intestinal microbes. When the normal development of bacteria in the child’s gut is exposed to repeated use of antibiotics it can lose the ability to control weight gain in the long run.
It is easy to say that antibiotics should not be given in the early years of life, but it is hard for physician’s to stop prescribing antibiotics. It is hard for a physician to stop prescribing antibiotics in circumstances when they find that antibiotics are the only remedy of the disease of the child. Scientist suggests that physicians can be aware of the key message from the studies of effect of antibiotics on obesity and prescribe narrow spectrum antibiotics for targeted diseases which are a better choice for babies than broad spectrum antibiotics.