According to a new study published in the International Journal of Obesity antibiotic exposure during the early baby months (before six months of age) may be associated with an increased risk of obesity later. Babies in the study who were exposed to more antibiotics during the first 6 months of life experienced consistent and significant increases in body mass once they hit the 10 to 38 month age mark. Babies exposed to antibiotics at an older age, around 6–14 months and 15–23 months, did not have the same risks of increased body weight.

According to the researchers, though the effects of early antibiotic exposure were modest when looked at in individual babies, this issue could hold substantial consequences for health of the population as a whole. The researchers pointed out to abc News that babies should indeed still get antibiotics when they are clearly needed, but that antibiotics are often used inappropriately, so in some cases more judicial use, along with proper use, such as finishing the entire course of antibiotics is a good idea. Since babies can’t speak for themselves, you, as the parent, must make the proper antibiotic choices for your child. To learn the facts about antibiotic misuse, overuse and when your child really needs them, visit the CDC’s Get Smart About Antibiotics campaign.

+ Infant antibiotic exposures and early-life body mass

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