The intestinal microbiota composition and weight development in children: the KOALA Birth Cohort Study

L.E.J.M. Scheepers*, J. Penders, C.A. Mbakwa, C. Thijs, M. Mommers, I.C.W. Arts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

ObjectiveTo investigate whether the intestinal microbiota composition in early infancy is associated with subsequent weight development in children.MethodsAnalyses were conducted within the KOALA Birth Cohort Study (n=2834). This cohort originates from two recruitments groups, pregnant women with a conventional lifestyle (no selection based on lifestyle) and pregnant women recruited through alternative channels (organic shops, anthroposophic clinicians/midwives, Steiner schools, and relevant magazines). From 909 one-month-old infants fecal samples were collected and analyzed by qPCR targeting bifidobacteria, Bacteroides fragilis-group, Clostridium difficile, Escherichia coli, lactobacilli, and total bacteria counts. Between the ages of 1-10 years, parent-reported weight and height was collected at 7 time points. Age- and gender-standardized Body Mass Index (BMI) z-scores were calculated. Data were analyzed using Generalized Estimating Equation.ResultsColonization with B. fragilis-group was borderline significantly associated with a higher BMI z-score of 0.15 (95% CI: -0.02 to 0.31), in the conventional subcohort. After stratification for fiber intake (pforinteraction 0.003), colonization with B. fragilis-group was associated with a 0.34 higher BMI z-score among children with a low fiber intake in this subcohort (95% CI: 0.17 to 0.53). Higher counts among colonized children were positively associated with BMI z-score only in children within the conventional subcohort and a high fiber diet (BMI z-score 0.08; 95% CI: 0.01 to 0.14), but inversely associated in children with a low fiber diet (BMI z-score -0.05; 95% CI: -0.10 to 0.00), and in children recruited through alternative channels (BMI z-score -0.10; 95% CI: -0.17 to -0.03). The other bacteria were not associated with BMI z-scores, regardless of subcohort.ConclusionUsing a targeted approach, we conclude that the intestinal microbiota, particularly the B. fragilis-group, is associated with childhood weight development. To identify the potential impact of additional bacterial taxa, further prospective studies applying an unconstrained in-depth characterization of the microbiota are needed.International Journal of Obesity accepted article preview online, 09 October 2014. doi:10.1038/ijo.2014.178.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-25
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Volume39
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

Keywords

  • REAL-TIME PCR
  • PROTEIN-COUPLED RECEPTOR
  • HUMAN GUT MICROBIOTA
  • BODY-MASS INDEX
  • CARDIOVASCULAR-DISEASE
  • OBESE ADOLESCENTS
  • OVERWEIGHT
  • TRACKING
  • BACTERIA
  • HEIGHT

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