CHILDHOOD OBESITY: Taking antibiotics in infancy has been linked to a higher risk of obesity. Researchers said the drugs may alter gut bacteria, making a child more susceptible to weight gain. Antacids — drugs taken to curb excessive stomach acid — taken in the first two years of life may also have an effect, though much smaller, researchers from the US found. The study, published in the journal Gut, found the effect was more pronounced among youngsters who used the drugs for a prolonged period. Alterations in gut bacteria have been linked with obesity, and early exposure to medications can alter the bacteria. The researchers examined data on more than 333,000 infants, focusing on medicines prescribed to these youngsters during the first two years of their lives. During the follow-up, 46,993 (14.1%) children became obese, of whom 9,628 had not been prescribed any antibiotics or acid suppressants. Researchers also calculated that youngsters were 26% more likely to be diagnosed with childhood obesity if they had been prescribed an antibiotic. RISKY PREGNANCIES: New mothers who become pregnant less than a year after giving birth could be putting themselves and their unborn child at increased risk, a study has suggested. Researchers who looked into nearly 150,000 births in Canada said those who waited 12 to 18 months to conceive after having a baby reduced the risk of short- and long-term damage to both the mother and child’s health. The study, by the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, found a short gap between pregnancies affected mothers aged over 35, while risks to the infant were found for all women — particularly for those aged 20 to 34. VEGAN VALUE: Vegan diets may help the management of diabetes, a review has suggested. Researchers found that predominantly plant-based or vegan diets can help manage blood sugar levels and weight among diabetes patients. The study, published in the journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care, found that such diets could also “significantly improve psychological health and quality of life”.