Children given antibiotics face being overweight by the age of five
Children who have several courses of antibiotics may be at higher risk of being overweight at five years of age, according to a study.
Having six or more courses of the drug, combined with being born by caesarean section, significantly increases the risk even further, said researchers from the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health in UCC.
It is the first Irish population-based study to examine antibiotic exposure in children, the summer scientific meeting at the Royal College of Physicians was told.
The association may be due to the changes in the gut microbiome, which is the bacteria in our human digestive tract. The meeting was told children are the most prescribed age group for antibiotics and also the most vulnerable.
The study findings showed early exposure to antibiotics may affect weight gain and the impact is higher if the child was delivered through caesarean section.
The period up to the age of four years is a critical window for the start of intestinal microbiome. The child may be vulnerable to a metabolic disorder.