September 17, 2012
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Diarrhea, poor health early on could be associated with decreased BMI later

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Increased diarrhea and time spent in unsanitary conditions during infancy predicted a lower BMI later on in life, whereas upper respiratory infection was associated with a higher BMI score, according to study findings.

Gina Suh, MD, of Stanford University School of Medicine, and colleagues looked at data from the Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Survey, which included information on babies born to Filipino mothers between May 1, 1983, and April 30, 1984.

The researchers reported that of the 1,893 participants on whom they had available BMI data as adults, those in the lower weight bracket were more commonly exposed to unsanitary conditions and more commonly had frequent diarrhea as babies.

However, upper respiratory infections in infants were associated with a slightly increased BMI, which the researchers noted could be related to the pathogens themselves or increased antibiotic use in those children with infectious diseases.

The researchers said some of their findings indicate that antibiotic treatment early on could upset the balance between good and bad bacteria in the gut, which may disrupt the process of digesting food and metabolizing food later on, leading to increased weight.

They said, however, that more research is needed on this topic.

 

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.