The gut microbiome in the first 2 years of life strongly correlates with body mass index (BMI) at age 12. A Norwegian study analyzed the gut microbiota at days 4, 10, 30, 120, 365, and 730 and the association with BMI at age 12 in 165 study participants. The researchers also looked at how BMI related to maternal weight/obesity and excessive gestational weight gain. The study results found that the microbiota composition at days 10 and 730 were significantly associated with childhood BMI, and gut bacteria at age 2 explained over 50% of the variations in BMI. mBio
→Takeaway: The health of the gut microbiome very early on (as little as 10 days old) has a significant impact on whether or not a child will become obese. This study is important for 2 reasons. One, it illustrates the vital need for microbial optimization in both mother (well before conception, since the mother’s microbiome is passed along to the child) and baby. And two, researchers who conducted the study hope these preliminary findings (and future ones) will help identify those children who are at risk for obesity and open the door for targeted, early prevention strategies.