Children who regularly use antibiotics — which are not the same as vaccines — are more susceptible to weight gain than their peers who have never used them, according to a new study published in the International Journal of Obesity.
By reviewing the medical records of 163,820 children between the ages of three and 18, researchers found that one in five children had been prescribed antibiotics at least seven times between 2001 and 2012, if not more. By the time those children — more than 30,000 — reached 15 years of age, they were an average of three pounds heavier than those who had not been treated with antibiotics.
“Not only did antibiotics contribute to weight gain at all ages, but the contribution of antibiotics to weight gain gets stronger as you get older,” Dr. Brian S. Schwartz, the paper’s lead author and a professor in the department of environmental health sciences at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told the New York Times.
“As parents we want to feel like we’re doing something active for our kids, but I think we’re doing our kids damage. If your doctor says you don’t need them, don’t take them.”