"babies (365-222)" by Robert Couse-Baker is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Antibiotics and Acid Suppressants May Be Risk Factor For Pediatric Obesity

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"babies (365-222)" by Robert Couse-Baker is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr. Christopher M Stark
Department of Pediatrics
William Beaumont Army Medical Center
El Paso, Texas
Department of Pediatrics
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
Bethesda, Maryland

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Rates of pediatric obesity have increased over the past decade, which has led researchers to search for modifiable risk factors that may explain this increase. Recent studies have identified an association between native gut bacteria alterations and the development of obesity. Several population-based studies have evaluated whether or not there is an association between antibiotic exposure and the development of obesity, with mixed results.

No studies have previously evaluated if acid suppressing medications are associated with developing obesity.

We found that young children prescribed antibiotics, acid suppressants, and combinations of these medications in the first two years of life are more likely to develop obesity after two years of age.

Our study represents the largest study to evaluate pediatric antibiotic prescriptions and obesity risk, with nearly ten times as many patients as the next largest study.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Exposure to antibiotics and acid suppressants may be a risk factor for developing pediatric obesity, but there are certain clinical scenarios where the benefits of these medications outweigh the risks. Healthcare providers must be judicious in their prescription of these medications and consider their implications for future growth and development. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

 Response: Further research is needed to determine the long term effects of antibiotic and acid suppressant medications on the pediatric gut microbiota. Longitudinal comparisons of the gut microbial profile in patients prescribed these medications would offer valuable insight into a potential mechanism for our findings. Additionally, the role of probiotic medications must be further evaluated.

We have no financial or other disclosures.


Christopher M Stark, Apryl Susi, Jill Emerick, Cade M Nylund. Antibiotic and acid-suppression medications during early childhood are associated with obesity. Gut, 2018; gutjnl-2017-314971 DOI: 10.1136/gutjnl-2017-314971 

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Last Updated on November 1, 2018 by Marie Benz MD FAAD