According to a new study conducted by doctors between January 2001 and February 2012, all children who have taken repeated courses of antibiotics during their earlier years of life are predisposed to be overweight. The paper’ thesis is that antibiotics are tied to child obesity, as they alter the way our body breaks down food and key nutrients.
More specifically, scientists have discovered that early use of antibiotics in any course of treatment could have a staggering effect on what is known as the BMI or the body mass index. This index is used to measure the distribution of weight according to height and vice versa.
The study has been conducted by thoroughly analyzing the health records of over 160.000 children, ranging from 3 to 18 years old. Doctor Brian Schwarz, a professor at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, said that is has been proven that antibiotic use in early years is intimately tied to the body mass index. He says that every time we decide to give antibiotics to a child, he gains weight faster over a period of time.
For example, if a 15 year old child has taken 7 or more courses of antibiotics during his early years weights about 1.5 kg more than a child that hasn’t received any treatment at all. Schwartz also pointed out that although the weight gain due to antibiotics may be modest until the end of childhood, the effect is rather cumulative and could stagger his development as an adult.
Antibiotics are use used in the treatment of various infectious disease caused by bacteria. Although an antibiotic is made to target a specific strain of bacteria, they can also cause more harm than good if taken in excess. Basically, antibiotics do not kill by themselves harmful organism in our system. They rather boost our body’s immune response to potential aggressor.
But, like any other pill, antibiotics has also its side effects. It has been proven that continual use of antibiotics can harm the gastrointestinal flora, “the good guy bacteria” who helps us to digest and process what we eat. If the microbiota is disturbed by any external factor it can change the way our body breaks down and absorbs nutrients from food, which in turn, can lead to weigh gain.
We are not in a position do either deny or condone the use of antibiotics. They too have their utility. But, like any medication, it comes with a label of warning. Antibiotics can indeed alter the BMI but they can also lead to any number of complications and abusive use can even lead to the weakening of the immune system.
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