The types of bacteria in a baby’s gut may determine their risk of being overweight or obese later in life, according to Finnish researchers.
After analyzing fecal samples from 49 infants, 25 of whom were overweight or obese by the age of 7, they found that babies with high numbers of bifidobacteria and low numbers of Staphylococcus aureus appeared to be protected from excess weight gain.
On average, the bifidobacteria counts taken at 6 months and 12 months were twice as high in healthy weight children than in those who became overweight, while S. Aureus levels were lower.
The researchers suggested that S. aureus may cause low-grade inflammation in your body, which could contribute to obesity. Further, the findings may help explain why breast-fed babies are at a lower risk of obesity, as bifidobacteria flourish in the guts of breast-fed babies.
• Yahoo News March 7, 2008
• American Journal of Clinical Nutrition March 2008, Vol. 87, No. 3, 534-538