School of Public Health

Elizabeth Dawson-Hahn

The Association between Early Antibiotic Exposure and Obesity Development in Childhood


Young children are frequently exposed to antibiotics, an improved understanding of the relationship between antibiotic exposure in early life and adiposity in childhood is warranted. We hypothesize early childhood antibiotic exposure is associated with overweight development. We formed a longitudinal birth cohort from 2002-2010, born in a health care system in WA. Antibiotic exposure was defined as courses of antibiotics (1 course = 1-14 days) received from 0-47 months of age. The outcome was overweight (BMI % ≥ 85th%) at 48-59 months. Multivariable logistic and linear regression models were used. 72% of children were antibiotic exposed. In a multivariable logistic regression model, there was association between antibiotic exposure and overweight development (OR: 1.03, 95% CI: 1.01. 1.05). Children had a 3% higher odds of overweight development at 48-59 months for each additional course of antibiotics at 0-47 months. This association affords an opportunity to explore a physician-modifiable risk factor for overweight.