Researchers from Wake Forest Baptist Health are mapping the correlation between childhood obesity and gut bacteria.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity affects 1 in 5 children and adolescents in the U.S.
Dr. Hariom Yadav with Wake Forest Baptist says a human's microbiome is a factor. That's the vast community of microorganisms including bacteria that begins forming at birth.
“The moment we are born [the] microbiome starts colonizing, [and the] immune system starts developing," says Yadav. "And they both are having [a] high impact, very important role in regulating the metabolic function.”
Things that can affect a microbiome include how a baby is born, what a baby is fed as an infant, and exposure to antibiotics. Yadav says studies show those born by cesarean section and/or fed with formula as opposed to breast milk can have higher body weight and higher chances of becoming obese.