When I was a child, my parents had one simple rule — and I bet yours did, too.
If the sun was up, we were outside. We were running around the neighbourhood, playing baseball together with some friends.
I can’t think of too many of my friends who were seriously overweight — and I didn’t know any who were diabetic.
But you practically need a forklift truck to get today’s children off the couch. Childhood obesity has become an epidemic, and lots of children are staring down the barrel of a lifetime of heart disease and blood sugar problems before they even finish secondary school.
You can bet that mobile phones, video games and hundreds of television channels are doing their part to keep children overweight and unhealthy — but it doesn’t look like they’re getting any help from Big Pharma either.
A new study has proven that antibiotics — one of the most commonly prescribed classes of drugs around — are packing dangerous and unhealthy pounds on our children.
According to the study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, children who took antibiotics gained weight faster than those who didn’t — and that weight gain lasted well into adulthood.
Johns Hopkins researchers analysed the health records of 164,000 children ages 3 to 18, looking at the number of antibiotic prescriptions they took, body weight and height. By the time they reached the age of 15, children who took antibiotics were noticeably heavier than those who didn’t.
The older the child, the more the antibiotics contributed to weight gain.
That really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Farmers have been using antibiotics for years to force livestock to gain weight before slaughter.
You see, antibiotics don’t just kill the bad bacteria causing your sickness. They wipe out healthy bacteria in your gut, too. This shift in gut bacteria can permanently change the way food is broken down and absorbed in your body and can cause you to build up fat.
Limiting how often we — or our children — take antibiotics should be easy enough. As I’ve told you before, doctors frequently hand them out like sweets — even for colds or viruses they were never meant to treat.
So before filling any prescription for antibiotics, always make sure you really need it.
Don’t forget that one of our main sources of antibiotic exposure comes from the beef and poultry we eat that have been loaded with the drugs. That’s why you should always insist on antibiotic-free meat for your family and keep your children and grandchildren away from fast food restaurants. Very few fast-food and chain restaurants serve antibiotic-free meat.
Limiting our children’s exposure to antibiotics is important to helping them maintain a healthy weight. That and reminding them to turn off that Xbox and run around outside once in a while.Wishing you the best of health,
Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Nutrition & Healing
Frequent antibiotics may make our kids fatter, nytimes.com