Gut bugs might influence child's odds for obesity

May 10, 2012
Gut bugs might influence child's odds for obesity
Heavy kids had higher levels of certain microbes, as did kids who ate little protein, study finds.

(HealthDay) -- Levels of certain gut bacteria and low protein intake may raise children's risk of being obese, new research suggests.

The study included 26 obese and 27 non-obese children aged 6 to 16 who completed a dietary and physical activity survey. Stool samples from the children were analyzed to assess the presence of different types of gut bacteria.

Overweight and obese children had different proportions of various gut bacteria than normal weight children. The ratio of Bacteroides fragilis to Bacteroides vulgatus was 3:1 in overweight and obese children, while this ratio was reversed in normal weight children, the investigators found.

Like the normal weight kids, children who ate more protein also had lower levels of B. fragilis. That suggests a possible connection between and obesity, according to the researchers from the University of Hasselt and the in Belgium.

The study, slated for presentation Wednesday at the European Congress on Obesity in Lyon, France, revealed no significant associations between and levels of physical activity.

"Our results suggest that low concentrations of Bacteroides fragilis group bacteria, together with a low during childhood, could lead to the development of obesity," Liene Bervoets, of the University of Hasselt, and colleagues explained in a news release from the European Congress on Obesity.

While the findings indicate an association between a certain composition of gut microflora and , the researchers did not prove that having the wrong gut microbes can cause obesity.

But the study authors noted that the findings suggest that manipulating the makeup of gut microbiota through diet, prebiotics or probiotics may help prevent obesity. Prebiotics and probiotics are ingredients in food that may stimulate the growth of in the digestive tract.

Bervoets also suggested that existing guidelines on protein consumption may need to be revised.

Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Explore further: Gut organisms could be clue in controlling obesity risk

More information: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services outlines how parents can keep their children at a healthy weight.

Related Stories

Gut organisms could be clue in controlling obesity risk

April 23, 2012
The international obesity epidemic is widespread, nondiscriminatory, and deadly. But do we really understand all of the factors underlying this alarming trend? The concept of energy balance (energy consumed = energy expended ...

Study: kids who sleep in parents' bed less likely to be overweight

May 9, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Children who wake up at night and are allowed to fall back asleep in their parents' bed are less likely to be overweight than kids put back into their own bed, a new study says.

Recommended for you

Study finds being in a good mood for your flu jab boosts its effectiveness

September 25, 2017
New research by a team of health experts at the University of Nottingham has found evidence that being in a positive mood on the day of your flu jab can increase its protective effect.

New tool demonstrates high cost of lack of sleep in the workplace

September 25, 2017
Sleep disorders and sleep deficiency are hidden costs that affect employers across America. Seventy percent of Americans admit that they routinely get insufficient sleep, and 30 percent of U.S. workers and 44 percent of night ...

Maternal diet could affect kids' brain reward circuitry

September 25, 2017
Researchers in France found that rats who ate a junk food diet during pregnancy had heavier pups that strongly preferred the taste of fat straight after weaning. While a balanced diet in childhood seemed to reduce the pups' ...

Breathing dirty air may harm kidneys, study finds

September 21, 2017
Outdoor air pollution has long been linked to major health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. A new study now adds kidney disease to the list, according to ...

Excess dietary manganese promotes staph heart infection

September 21, 2017
Too much dietary manganese—an essential trace mineral found in leafy green vegetables, fruits and nuts—promotes infection of the heart by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus ("staph").

Being active saves lives whether a gym workout, walking to work or washing the floor

September 21, 2017
Physical activity of any kind can prevent heart disease and death, says a large international study involving more than 130,000 people from 17 countries published this week in The Lancet.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.