If Your Kid’s Gaining Weight, Check Their Antibiotics Intake

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Many factors can contribute to childhood obesity: poor diet, lack of exercise, genetics. (Sorry, kids — that last one is Dad’s bad.) But new research say antibiotics may also factor in the mix by suggesting kids who regularly take the drugs gain weight faster than those who don’t.

A team of John Hopkins researchers looked at the electronic medical records from 2001 to 2012 on 163,820 children ages 3 to 18, examining data on antibiotic prescriptions as well as body weight and height. Around one fifth of these kids — over 30,000 — were prescribed antibiotics more than 6 times, and the patients in that group on average weighed around 3 pounds more by age 15 than children who never received antibiotics. Presumably, most of these kids were not going out for the varsity offensive line.

“Not only did antibiotics contribute to weight gain at all ages, but the contribution of antibiotics to weight gain gets stronger as you get older.”

“Not only did antibiotics contribute to weight gain at all ages, but the contribution of antibiotics to weight gain gets stronger as you get older,” Dr. Brian S. Schwartz, a professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the study’s lead author, told the New York Times. “We’ve got to totally dissuade parents from advocating for antibiotics, As parents we want to feel like we’re doing something active for our kids, but I think we’re doing our kids damage. If your doctor says you don’t need them, don’t take them.”

Scientist apparently are unsure what causes antibiotic use to correlate with weight gain, but one theory is that these drugs affect gut bacteria and reconfigure the microbiome that helps humans process food. Though maybe it’s just that kids who take a lot of antibiotics realize all their problems can be solved with pills so, like, who cares really? This is exactly why you have to keep showing them Wall-E.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvMvvjPCtyw expand=1]

(Via NYT)

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