Antibiotics increase growth in kids in developing countries

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Antibiotics improve growth in children at risk of undernourishment in low and middle income countries, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal.

The study consisted of ten trials involving more than 4,000 children aged one month to 12 years in seven low and middle income countries. Researchers found antibiotics increased height by 0.04 cm per month and weight by 23.8 grams per month. After adjusting for age, effects on height were larger in younger populations and effects on weight were larger in African regions compared with other regions.

The authors concluded that growth gains show the co-benefits of antibiotic treatments in high risk populations, but more research is needed to better understand the mechanisms involved.

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