A new study has come to a surprising conclusion: children may be gaining significant weight due to antibiotics they are taking.Teens who were prescribed antibiotics seven or more times during their childhood weighed about three pounds more compared to those who weren’t.
Kids who receive antibiotics throughout the course of their childhood gain weight significantly faster than those who do not, a new study has warned.
The findings suggest that antibiotics may have a compounding effect throughout childhood on body mass index (BMI), a measure often used to determine whether someone is at a healthy weight.
In the past, scientists working with penicillin discovered early on that its byproducts could cause weight gain in animals, paving the way for modern industrial farming practices of adding antibiotics to animal feed to fatten them up in a short span of time.
Brian Schwartz, the lead author of the study and a physician and epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said that antibiotics at any age appear to be connected to weight gain. His research was published in the International Journal of Obesity this week.
“While the magnitude of the weight increase attributable to antibiotics may be modest by the end of childhood, our finding that the effects are cumulative raises the possibility that these effects continue and are compounded into adulthood,” Schwartz said in the release.
Approximately 21 per cent of the kids in the study, or almost 30,000 children, had received seven or more prescriptions during childhood.
Antibiotics kill off harmful bacteria but also those vital to gastrointestinal health. Research has shown that repeated antibiotics use can forever change the microbiota, altering the way it breaks down food and increasing the calories absorbed. This, in turn, can increase weight gain.
The study was published in the International Journal of Obesity.