Monday, August 27, 2012

Antibiotics and Fat Babies

A recent report on NPR asks, "Could Antibiotics be a Factor in Childhood Obesity?" Another article on ABC News states, “Antibiotics too soon may set babies up for Obesity: Study.” 

I have to say these are about the funniest articles about antibiotics that I have seen in awhile. They are just laden with political implications! 

What is funny?

1.      Fortunately, the articles are clear that the evidence linking childhood obesity and antibiotic use is not strong.1 NPR states, "Further studies are needed to confirm this trend." Of course, these articles refer to antibiotic treatment of the child, not animals. However, someone has already has made a connection to antibiotic use in food animals.3,4
2.      For years some folks have been saying that antibiotic use in livestock does not really improve growth5 . However, these reports suggest even babies grow better with antibiotics6.  Additionally, the NPR article did cede that antibiotics in livestock may improve growth.
3.      Besides, what is wrong with a “fat” baby?  The article admits that the children showed no long term obesity problems, but that will likely be overlooked by the media.  Besides, what is what is wrong with a chubby bunny baby?  All of my children, except for one, looked like the old “Michelin Man”. Now they are perfect specimens of the human species (North European version).
4.      Sadly, like so many others, this article makes obesity someone else’s fault. It is the doctor who gave the antibiotics. Certainly, a baby cannot be expected to control its food consumption, but the parents can. Consumption is the key. It is not the food or antibiotics fault.

1Barnett, S. 2012. Antibiotics too soon may set babies up for Obesity: Study.
2Doucleff, M. 2012. Could Antibiotics Be a Factor in Childhood Obesity?
3The Huffington Post UK. 2012. Farmers may be causing Obesity Epidemic by Feeding Livestock Antibiotics.
4Collins, N. 2012.  Livestock Antibiotics ‘Could Have Contributed to Human Obesity.’ The Telegraph.
5Graham, JP et al. 2007. Growth Promoting Antibiotics in Food Animal Production: An Economic Analysis. Public Health Reports 122(1):79-87.
6Trasande, L et al. 2012. Infant Antibiotic Exposures and early life body mass. International
Journal of Obesity.



1 comment:

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