In this study, scientists aimed at investigating the relationships between food category consumption, fecal microbial profile, and body composition throughout the supplemental feeding phase. In a cohort of 50 babies aged 6 to 24 months, the diet was examined using a quantitative food frequency questionnaire, fecal microbiota profile was analyzed using 16S rRNA gene sequencing, and body composition was measured using bioelectrical impedance analysis and dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry.
Age was the biggest predictor of microbiota composition throughout this key time of microbiota formation, with network analysis suggesting a cluster of taxa positively related with age. A distinct cluster included fat mass index-associated taxa, with Bifidobacterium having the highest association (rho = 0.55, P = 0.001, false discovery rate [FDR] = 0.018). Dairy consumption was shown to be both adversely and favorably associated with Bacteroides (rho = −0.49, P < 0.001, FDR = 0.024) and lean mass index (rho = 0.44, P = 0.007, FDR = 0.024). Antibiotic usage in the first month of birth had the greatest impact on body composition, with a 1.17 (P = 0.001) rise in mean BMI z score and a 3.5% P = 0.001) increase in body fat.
The findings indicated that antibiotics used in the first month of life had the greatest impact on body composition in this cohort of babies aged 6 to 24 months, but dairy consumption interacted with both microbiota and body composition in early life.
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