Early and frequent exposure to antibiotics in children and the risk of obesity: systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Background: This study aimed to systematically evaluate the available evidence on prenatal and early infancy antibiotic exposure and the association with overweight and obesity in later childhood. Methods: We conducted a comprehensive search of Embase, MEDLINE, and Web of Science for observational studies assessing prenatal and early antibiotic exposure on the risk of overweight and obesity. We independently assessed the risk of bias using the ROBINS instrument and the overall quality of evidence using the GRADE approach. Results: Our search identified thirteen observational studies including 554,983 participants; most studies were at moderate risk of bias. We found a statistically significant impact of early antibiotic exposure and the risk of being overweight later in childhood (OR 1.18; 95% CI 1.05 to 1.34) (very low quality evidence). We also found that early childhood antibiotic exposure was associated with the risk for childhood obesity (OR 1.14; 95% CI 1.04 to 1.24) (very low quality evidence). Conclusions: Very low quality evidence suggests that exposure to antibiotics early in life may be associated with an increased risk of being overweight and obese in later childhood. ¬†However, very low quality evidence raises serious questions about the plausibility of prenatal and early infancy antibiotic exposure being causally related to weight in children. PROSPERO registration: CRD42016050011 (14/12/2016)

publication date

  • 2020