Antibiotic child/obesity link

AntibioticsChildObesityPhysicians have recognized for some time that our long love affair with antibiotics for every ill  has resulted in a dangerous resistance to antibiotics that may occasionally really be needed. Some pediatricians have become especially concerned, as many modern mothers have rushed their child off to the doctor at the first sign of sniffles.

But now, reports The Week, a new study has provided another incentive for keeping the prescription pad in the physician’s pocket:  a higher chance that your antibiotic- overdosed child may join the growing legions of fat children that develop into overweight and obese adults.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania recently reviewed the health records of 64,580 children, almost 70 percent of whom had been given antibiotics before age two, receiving an average of 2.3 courses.

By age five, those who had been given only a couple of courses during their early years had the same risk of obesity as those who received none, but kids who were treated with four or more courses were eleven percent more likely to be obese.

Furthermore, those who had had multiple courses of more powerful, broad-spectrum antibiotics were sixteen percent more likely to have gained too much weight.

Penn professor Charles Bailey, who led the study, believes that antibiotics are killing off natural beneficial bacteria (flora) in the stomach that help keep weight in check.

He said that though the risks of antibiotic-related weight gain are admittedly small and that antibiotics are just one of many modern day factors that contribute to childhood obesity, the link may highlight an important “piece of the puzzle.”

Although natural health experts have known and informed anyone who would listen about the vital role beneficial bacteria play in wellness for many years, it’s good to know that the mainstream is finally talking about it.

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