Background Recent studies have shown that antibiotic exposure during infancy is associated with increased body mass in healthy children. This study was performed to investigate the association between early-life antibiotic exposure and risk of childhood obesity. Methods A systematic review and meta-analysis was performed to comprehensively and quantitatively determine the association between early antibiotic exposure and risk of childhood obesity. Various databases such as PubMed, Embase, Scopus, Web of Science, ProQuest, Cochrane and Google Scholar were searched. A random-effects meta-analysis was performed to pool the statistical estimates. Additionally, a subgroup analysis was performed based on the time of follow-up. Results Nineteen studies involving at least 671,681 participants were finally included. Antibiotic exposure in early life was significantly associated with risk of childhood weight gain and obesity (odds ratio [OR]: 1.05, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.04-1.06). Conclusions Antibiotic exposure in early life significantly increases the risk of childhood weight gain and obesity.
Keywords: anti-bacterial agents; body mass index; meta-analysis; obesity; pediatrics.