Antibiotics May Be the Reason Your Kid Is Fat

thermometerWell super, here's one more thing for us parents to worry about: Two new studies have linked antibiotics with obesity. Not just one, random "huh?!?" study we can dismiss -- but two. What's up? Don't we kind of ... NEED antibiotics for sick kids? And what could the two possibly have in common?

This is another one of those maddening dilemmas parents face. What are you supposed to when your child becomes seriously ill and the doctor recommends antibiotics? Do the same thing you'd do otherwise: This is no reason to swear off antibiotics for your kids. We just don't know enough right now. 


In one study, young mice given moderate doses of antibiotics became more obese. Scientists found more of bacteria linked with obesity in the stomachs of the mice. So somehow there's a connection between antibiotics and the kinds of bacteria that show up in obese mice.

Notice I'm being careful NOT to say "bacteria that causes obesity" or that "the antibiotics cause that bacteria to grow." We really don't know if that's what happens. It's just that all the usual suspects seem to show up together consistently, and that makes scientists want to find out more.

In the second study researchers found that kids who'd been given antibiotics within the first six months of life were more likely to be obese. And they also found that kids who were treated with antibiotics during the toddler years were slightly more likely to be obese. So that's worrisome for parents with seriously ill babies!

A lot of parents try to avoid treating their kids with antibiotics anyway -- for loads of reasons. And it's not always a cut-and-dried case. Sometimes more natural remedies will work for milder infections. I think we sometimes do go overboard with the antibiotics and we definitely have too much of the stuff in our meat and dairy!

But even the crunchiest parents I know have used antibiotics for their children at some point. I mean, given the choice between avoiding possible weight issues in the future and saving a life right now, I think we know the answer.

How do you feel about treating your kids with antibiotics?


Image via Alvimann/

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