Study: Can Antibiotics in Childhood Lead to Obesity?

Are Antibiotics Making Kids Fat?

There is a big issue with kids in America these days: our kids are getting bigger and not in a good way. We’ve been hearing a whole lot about childhood obesity here, there and everywhere, from Michelle Obama to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), and for good reason. In recent years it has reached epidemic proportions and while health experts blame the child’s diet and/or lack of exercise, there may be another factor leading to a handful of kids being overweight these days. The blame isn’t being put squarely on the parents, on food choices or on a sedentary lifestyle; instead a doctor at Stanford is blaming the overuse of antibiotics for playing a part in the growing rate of obesity in some kids today.

“They’ve looked at kids who got repeated antibiotic treatments versus kids that just got the tubes in their ears and drained them. And the kids who got antibiotics were the ones who ended up gaining more weight,” Dr. John Morton, who is Stanford’s director of bariatric and weight-loss surgery said in response to recent studies (although he did not mention a particular study). In particular, there is concern about parents and doctors going to antibiotics as the first line of defense from ear infections to bad colds.

The issue is with how antibiotics work with the stomach. When taken, they not only kill the bad bacteria but the good bacteria as well, therefore throwing the “balance out of whack.”  Not only does the process of how food is being digested become changed but kids aren’t able to absorb all the “vital” nutrients they should.  Healthline notes that, “antibiotics destroy the intestinal microflora (bacteria) that assist in digestive and absorptive processes and that are even involved in creating certain nutrients, such as vitamin B12.” Dr. Morton has a strong opinion on the topic saying that, “even a few courses of antibiotics can upset that balance and may not have bacteria you need to have good, healthy weight down the road.”

Do you feel that antibiotics are over prescribed to kids these days?

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