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Gut instinct: Toddler microbiota linked to future obesity risk


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Gut bacteria of a toddler may serve as an indicator of future obesity.

Study involved 512 infants from a larger study tracking 18,000 children born in France, with data focused on participants' BMI between the ages of two and five.

Researchers collected stool samples when the children were three and a half years old, revealing a link between BMI score at five years old and the ratio of two types of gut bacteria, Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes.

Greater abundance of Bacteroidetes was linked with lower likelihood of obesity, while a higher ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes was associated with increased calorie absorption and weight gain.

Gut microbiota, essential for digestion and absorption of nutrients, changes significantly during early life, and disruptions can be linked to various conditions later in life, including obesity.

The study also found that greater presence of three types of bacteria—Eubacterium hallii group, Fusicatenibacter, and Eubacterium ventriosum group—was a risk factor for a higher BMI score.

Changes in the gut microbiota that may contribute to adult obesity seem to start in early childhood, as suggested by differences in gut bacteria between adults with obesity and those without.

Further research needed to identify the specific bacterial species that influence obesity risk and to understand the timing of changes in gut microbiota.

Research by Université Sorbonne Paris presented at the European Congress of Obesity.

Better understanding of composition and changes of gut microbiome could lead to potential interventions

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Sorbonne University

Public research university.

Gut instinct: Toddler microbiota linked to future obesity risk