Excessive antibiotic exposure in infants linked to higher BMI



Exposure to antibiotics before 6 months of age or repeated doses before 2 years of age is associated with increased body mass index at 2 years, especially in males, according to Dr. Antti Saari of the University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, and associates.

Children who were exposed to antibiotics were heavier at 2 years than children who were not exposed to antibiotics before 2 years (adjusted BMI-for-age z-score difference in boys, 0.13; in girls, 0.07). Macrolides before 6 months gave the most pronounced effect (boys, 0.28; girls, 0.23). In both boys and girls, zBMI increased linearly and significantly with increased antibiotic exposure under age 2 years.

“These results highlight the importance of critical use of antibiotics in early infancy, favoring narrow-spectrum antibiotics and avoiding repeated exposure when possible,” the investigators concluded.

Find the full study in Pediatrics (doi:10.1542/peds.2014-3407).

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