and microbes in the stomach. Preliminary studies of 26 obese and 27 non-obese children between the ages of 6 to 16 who completed a dietary and physical activity survey, showed a consistently differing proportion of gut bacteria in obese children,
“The ratio of Bacteroides fragilis to Bacteroides vulgatus was 3:1 in overweight and obese children, while this ratio was reversed in normal weight children.”
Stool samples were analyzed to assess the presence of different types of gut bacteria and overweight children had different proportions of various gut bacteria than children maintaining a normal weight. The study also ruled out this consistently differing bacteria proportions association with physical activity. Liene Bervoets, of the University of Hasselt, and his colleagues explained to the European Congress on Obesity,
“Our results suggest that low concentrations of Bacteroides fragilis group bacteria, together with a low protein intake during childhood, could lead to the development of obesity.”
Though the study has yet to be peer reviewed, its preliminary findings suggest that manipulating the microbiotic composition in the gut through diet, such as probiotics, may aid in preventing obesity. Probiotics are ingredients in food or probiotic supplements that stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria in the body’s digestive tract. When children are exposed to antibiotic use, the healthy bacteria in the digestive system is destroyed along with the illness-causing bacteria. These probiotics are necessary to properly digest foods and balance the body’s microflora. The differing proportions of gut microorganisms in obese children may explain the correlation found in the results of a study published by the International Journal of Obesity finding a correlation between antibiotic exposure before 6 months and an increased body mass later in childhood. Could this be because the use of antibiotics destroys the healthy flora in the body? Research continues, but evidence strongly supports this theory.
Kate Hunter enjoys organic gardening, whole food cooking, crafting, making natural products, and following up on politics and the latest health food news. After changing her major from art to biology to English, she finally obtained a B.A. in English with an emphasis on writing from Southern Oregon University and has been writing about nutrition, healthy living, cooking, and gardening for over nine years. Kate is a published author both online and in print and has owned, operated, and published a literary journal. She is a mother of three, speaks sarcasm, some Spanish, but mostly English and spends her time baking, taking pictures, canning, growing and drying herbs, reading, selling natural products and homemade crafts in her Etsy store HomemadeByKate, and checking food labels of course.