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The more antibiotics, the more obese children

Staff writer |
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the prevalence of obesity in children has more than tripled from 1971-2011.

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To conduct their study, lead author Dr. Brian S. Schwartz - a professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Bloomberg School - and colleagues assessed electronic health records of 163,820 children between the ages of 3-18 years, from 2001-2012.

From the data, the team analyzed body weight and height to determine body mass index (BMI), and they also ascertained antibiotic use in the previous year.

Results showed that at age 15, the children who had taken antibiotics seven times or more during childhood weighed around 3 lbs more than those who did not receive any antibiotics.

Interestingly, the researchers found that nearly 21% of the children in the study - almost 30,000 - had received seven or more antibiotic prescriptions during childhood.

Although Dr. Schwartz believes physicians are becoming more cautious in how often they prescribe antibiotics, he says parents often demand antibiotics for cold viruses and other conditions that will not benefit from antibiotic use.

What is more, concerns are growing that excessive antibiotic use is leading to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

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