Breastfeeding, antibiotics before weaning and BMI in later childhood

June 13, 2016, The JAMA Network Journals

Breastfeeding in children who had received no antibiotics before weaning was associated with a decreased number of antibiotic courses after weaning and a decreased body mass index (BMI) later in childhood, according to an article published online by JAMA Pediatrics.

The mechanisms by which for a long duration may reduce the frequency of infections and lower the risk of being overweight for children remain unclear. The benefits of breastfeeding likely may be due to the development of the intestinal microbiota, which is dependent on the infant's diet. Antibiotic use may be a modifying factor.

The study by Katri Korpela, Ph.D., of the University of Helsinki, Finland, and coauthors included 226 Finnish children who had participated in a probiotic trial from 2009 to 2010. Breastfeeding information was collected in a questionnaire from mothers at the start of the trial. The current retrospective study involved antibiotic purchase records. Almost 97 percent of children were breastfed for at least one month and the average duration of breastfeeding was eight months.

The authors report that among 113 children with no antibiotic use before weaning, breastfeeding was associated with a reduced number of postweaning antibiotic courses and decreased index later in life. Among the 113 children who used in early life (during breastfeeding and through four months after weaning), the effect on postweaning antibiotic use was only borderline significant and the effect on BMI disappeared, according to the results.

Study limitations include the authors cannot exclude the possibility that some of the observed effects of breastfeeding could be due to other factors. They also acknowledge exclusion criteria could reduce the generalizability of their results.

"The protective effect of breastfeeding against high in later childhood was evident only in the with no antibiotic use during the breastfeeding period. The results suggest that the metabolic benefits of breastfeeding are largely conveyed by the intestinal microbiota, which is disturbed by ," the study notes.

In a related editorial, Giulia Paolella, M.D., of the University of Milan, Italy, and Pietro Vajro, M.D., of the University of Salerno, Italy, write: "Studies on early-life antibiotic exposure (ELAE) and subsequent childhood obesity have yielded inconsistent results. ... Korpela and colleagues add to what we know about the link between prevention of obesity, breastfeeding duration, ELAE and microbiota changes. However, like most investigations on this topic, their well-designed study is not exempt from inevitable and evitable limitations, as the authors themselves acknowledge."

Explore further: Antibiotic use in early life disrupt normal gut microbiota development

More information: JAMA Pediatr. Published online June 13, 2016. DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.0585

JAMA Pediatr. Published online June 13, 2016. DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.0964

Related Stories

Antibiotic use in early life disrupt normal gut microbiota development

January 26, 2016
The use of antibiotics in early childhood interferes with normal development of the intestinal microbiota, shows research conducted at the University of Helsinki. Particularly the broad-spectrum macrolide antibiotics, commonly ...

Study suggests breastfeeding may lower risk of childhood leukemia

June 1, 2015
Breastfeeding for six months or longer was associated with a lower risk of childhood leukemia compared with children who were never breastfed or who were breastfed for a shorter time, according to an article published online ...

New study questions role of breast milk in obesity prevention

April 7, 2015
A new study supports human milk as the optimal first food for babies, but the study raises questions about whether breast milk protects children from becoming obese.

Antibiotic exposure in infancy not associated with weight gain in childhood

March 22, 2016
Exposure to antibiotics within the first 6 months of life compared with no exposure among nearly 40,000 children was not associated with a significant difference in weight gain through age 7, according to a study appearing ...

Early weaning linked to reduced risk of atopic dermatitis

February 25, 2016
(HealthDay)—Early weaning at age 4 to 5 months is associated with reduced risk of atopic dermatitis, according to a study published online Feb. 19 in Allergy.

Can breastfeeding protect against ADHD?

May 14, 2013
Breastfeeding has a positive impact on the physical and mental development of infants. A new study suggests that breastfeeding may protect against the development of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) later in ...

Recommended for you

Scientists have identified and modelled a distinct biology for paediatric AML

December 11, 2018
Scientists have identified and modelled a distinct biology for paediatric acute myeloid leukaemia, one of the major causes of death in children.

Expert proposes method to help premature infants thrive in the hospital

December 11, 2018
Even when they're not actively feeding, infants are perpetually sucking on toys, pacifiers, their own fingers—whatever they can get ahold of.

Siblings of children with autism or ADHD are at elevated risk for both disorders

December 10, 2018
Later-born siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at elevated risk for both disorders, a new study led by Meghan Miller, assistant professor in the ...

RSV study reveals age when infants are most vulnerable to asthma

December 5, 2018
New research suggests a maternal vaccination against RSV should be augmented with active immunisation in a child's first two years to reduce the onset of asthma.

The powerful impact of real-world learning experiences for kids

December 4, 2018
Real-world learning experiences, like summer camps, can significantly improve children's knowledge in a matter of just days, a new study suggests.

Mediterranean diet during pregnancy associated with lower risk of accelerated growth

December 4, 2018
The Mediterranean diet is characterised by a high content of fruits, vegetables, olive oil, legumes and nuts. This healthy diet pattern has been associated with lower obesity and cardiometabolic risk in adults, but few studies ...


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.