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February 2017

Antibiotics and Obesity—A Burgeoning or Thinning Argument?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Crohn’s and Colitis Center, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora
  • 2Abramson Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
JAMA Pediatr. 2017;171(2):118-120. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.4032

Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the developed world. It is estimated that 8.1% of infants and toddlers and 16.9% of those 2 to 19 years of age are overweight or obese.1 The development of obesity in children is multifactorial and influenced by diet, exercise, genetic contributions, and socioeconomic factors.

Recently, the gut microbiome, which comprises more than 100 trillion microbial cells, has been implicated in the development of early-onset obesity and other metabolic disorders. Described interactions between the host and microbial cells include bacteria-induced regulation of host reactive oxygen species in the gut epithelium, alterations in the metabolism of pharmacologic agents, and regulation of host regulatory T cells via the production of specific short-chain fatty acids.2

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