Antibiotics in infancy increase the risk of weight problems

Antibiotics in infancy increase the risk of weight problems

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Effects of antibiotics on children's weight

A Chinese research team has investigated the effects of antibiotic use during pregnancy and in infancy on the weight of the offspring in a recent study. They found that taking antibiotics during infancy actually increases the risk of being overweight and obese.

A recent study by Southwest Medical University's Affiliated Hospital found that infants taking antibiotics were at increased risk of becoming obese or overweight. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "Obesity".

How does taking antibiotics affect weight?

Taking antibiotics during pregnancy does not appear to affect the weight of children in subsequent years, but taking antibiotics during infancy can increase the risk that affected children may become overweight or obese.

Evaluated examinations had more than 1,250,000 participants

For their study, the researchers evaluated the results of earlier studies that looked at the use of antibiotics during pregnancy or in infancy and the later weight of the children. A total of 23 observational studies with more than 1.25 million participants were evaluated.

Increased risk of being overweight and obese

The researchers found no connection between the prenatal use of antibiotics and overweight or obesity in children. However, if studies were evaluated that looked at the use of antibiotics in the second trimester and the use of antibiotics in infancy, it could be observed that there was definitely an increased risk of being overweight or obese, the research team reports.

Risks from using antibiotics

The increasing use of antibiotics in recent decades has contributed to the fact that more and more strains of bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics, which poses a significant risk to humanity. We have to be more responsible with these drugs to curb increasing antibiotic resistance. Antibiotics are also often used in cases where treatment with these drugs is pointless or unnecessary. The current results show further risks from the use of antibiotics for our children: overweight and obesity.

Be careful when using antibiotics in young children

Aside from the general risk of the spread of global antibiotic resistance, the current study makes it clear that antibiotic use is more prudent in children than is required in pregnant women. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Shengrong Wan, Man Guo, Ting Zhang, Qing Chen, Maoyan Wu et al .: Impact of Exposure to Antibiotics During Pregnancy and Infancy on Childhood Obesity: A Systematic Review and Meta ‐ Analysis, in Obesity (Published 03.03.2020), Obesity

Video: Preterm Infant Growth and Microbiome Stability (August 2022).