Children given antibiotics in the first 6 months of life have increased body mass through toddlerhood, which may have implications for their later health, a large study suggested.
After adjustment for multiple potential confounders including parental weight, breastfeeding, and childhood sedentary behavior, antibiotic use during the first 6 months of life was associated with a 22% increased likelihood that the child would be overweight at 38 months of age (OR 1.22, P=0.029), according to Leonardo Trasande, MD, and colleagues from New York University in New York City.
By 38 months the risk for obesity also was elevated with exposure to antibiotics during the first 6 months, although not to a statistically significant degree (OR 1.23, P=0.097), the researchers reported online in the International Journal of Obesity.
Exposure beyond 6 months, in contrast, appeared to have no effect on body mass, suggesting that the first 6 months is “a window of special vulnerability to exposure,” they noted.
In recent years, interest has stirred in the “human microbiome,” which consists of the thousands of microbial residents in the human gut that are crucial to various metabolic processes, proper immune function, and development and differentiation of cellular activity.