Your child’s sure-fire obesity starter – getting antibiotics before age 2

Chubby girl
Predictable obesity: give them antibiotics before they’re two and they’ll be obese by the time they’re five. Photo by Jakub Kriz on Unsplash

Good, healthy children – the last thing any parent thinks about is a problem with obesity.

Sure, our kids are everything in the world. Which is why we watch them like a hawk, especially in their formative years.

Bringing up little angels

Lots of fresh air and outdoors. Out and about, playing in the dirt, developing the immunities their bodies will need later. Scrubbing the dirt off in regular bath-times. Good, wholesome food and proper mealtimes. Sound, peaceful sleep and lots of it.

Everything we can think of to grow up strong and healthy. And at the first sign of anything wrong, off to the Doc in the very next second – nothing is too urgent or important for our little sweethearts.

Except that’s exactly where things can go pear-shaped.

We’re not doctors ourselves, so at the first sign of anything we panic. We need reassurance, demand action, and refuse to march out without medicine.

So the Doc writes a scrip, very often for antibiotics – because that’s what we know about and will get us out of her hair. Us parents can get quite bolshy sometimes, and no doctor needs the extra PT. Then it’s down to the chemist for amoxicillin or something. Anything, as long as it works – and never a thought about obesity.

Good bacteria, bad bacteria

Things is, a lot of the time antibiotics just aren’t necessary. We might stampede the Doc into giving us some, but unless the treatment is for something bacterial, antibiotics won’t do a dickie-bird.

Not a dickie-bird about whatever the infection is, of course. Because they’re sure doing something to those little insides, you can count on it.

You see, antibiotics do one thing – and that is, kill bacteria.

Bacteria bad, right? That’s why we pressure the Doc into prescribing something to fight them.

There’s only one problem.

We NEED bacteria to stay alive. And not all bacteria are bad. In fact, most of them are very definitely good. Because billions and billions of years ago, our bodies made a partnership with good bacteria to handle most of the grunt work of living, leaving us to get on and have a good time.

As a result, we’re not all human at all – we’re half alien. Of all the cells in our bodies, about 50% are actually bacteria. And down in our gut there are about 100 trillion of them of different types. And all with a purpose – among their many roles, digesting food, creating proteins and managing our immune systems.

Hydrogen bomb

Which makes taking antibiotics a bit like dropping a hydrogen bomb when they get to our gut. Millions and millions of them die – not just the bad ones causing us grief, but a lot of the good ones as well. A broad spectrum antibiotic like amoxycillin is not choosy about WHICH bacteria it kills – it just kills as many as possible.

All of which is catastrophic to developing young bodies.

Bacteria learn from each other, so a lot of the immunities we have are inherited from our mothers – her bacteria teaching ours what to do and how to protect themselves. And how to cope with new hazards like mud and dog poo when we go crawling round, exploring.

Bang, a lot of these bacteria are lost when the antibiotic hits. Some are very populous and reproduce very quickly. Others are rarer, and suffer major setbacks – perhaps the cause of diarrhoea or other side effects. Others are gone completely, never to return – whatever immunities they gave us don’t exist any more.

So how does this impact obesity?

Obesity control jammed ON

Well, among the many things that bacteria control are our hormones.  And most important of these from an obesity viewpoint are ghrelin and leptin.

Ghrelin is the one that tells our brain that we are hungry, it’s time to eat, let’s have some food – the ON switch for our appetite. Leptin is the opposite, telling us we’ve had enough, time to stop eating – the OFF switch.

Take a hit of antibiotics and the two are thrown out of balance. The ghrelin appetite switch remains jammed full ON, and the leptin switch stops working altogether. Result, there’s nothing to stop us eating till we pop. Obesity, here we come.

Bad news for our kids.

There we are rushing in to the Doc, because they have a fever, earache, or any one of a whole slew of childhood infections. Down the hatch with the antibiotics, and they’re off on the slippery slope.  Because as medical experts are starting to find out, children given antibiotics by the age of two are more likely to be obese by the time they’re five.

Follow that up with further treatments – from toddlers to teenagers to young adults – so that by the time they reach twenty, most of our kids have been exposed to antibiotics SEVENTEEN times.

Anti-obesity plans don’t work

That’s 17 times their ghrelin switch has been jammed ON again – and 17 times their leptin safety switch has been made unserviceably OFF. So they eat and eat, with no restriction, only stopping when over-stretched stomachs make them uncomfortable enough to stop. Which is why the recent schools test in the Midlands with healthier lunches and more exercise got absolutely nowhere.

Overeating CAUSED by antibiotics, the sure road to obesity.

Don’t believe it?

A key side effect of antibiotics is that they make things grow – the leptin switch broken in the OFF position, remember?

Which is why in food production, antibiotics are key to hitting the jackpot. Small doses given to cattle, pigs and poultry accelerate their growth – from egg to roasting chicken in six weeks, from new-born calf to Aberdeen Angus steak in just 12 months.

Super-big business for farmers around the world. And you’d better believe it. Today, antibiotics use in food production now tops 240,000 TONNES annually. To feed the 19 billion chickens, 1.4 billion cattle, 1 billion sheep and 1 billion pigs that currently feed US.

Antibiotics with every meal

So it’s not just from medicines that our kids get antibiotics. They’re gobbling up residues in every meal they eat, small traces in their meat and even in their vegetables – exactly like farm animals being fattened up for market.

As you can see by looking at them!

Of course antibiotics as growth boosters in meat are not allowed. Except that modern factory farms are so crowded and unhygienic, antibiotics HAVE to be given or animals will die. Farmers MUST withdraw doses several weeks before market so that residues fall to zero. Because we might catch superbugs, killer bacteria that have learned how to resist antibiotics, for which there is no cure.

Good thinking, but doomed to failure. Because animals still have to eat – and the feedstuffs they get are all fertilised by their own manure, laced through with earlier doses of antibiotics, because they poo out 80% of the nutrients they eat.

Which means it’s not just our kids getting fat. It’s us too. Look around and you’ll realise that two-thirds of us adults are already overweight or into obesity.

Doom and gloom?

So what’s to be done? Are we doomed to get fatter and fatter, until we explode?

Pretty much, as there is no escaping from antibiotics. If farmers were to stop using them, there wouldn’t be enough food for the world and billions of us would starve.

Ironic, no? World famine, for a condition that makes us to overeat.

Which is what the REAL problem is – overeating. Not junk food or sugary drinks – just gutsing ourselves on too much of them. On all that yummy high -energy food – if it were bad for us it would make us ill, wouldn’t it?

And there we are, wondering why we’re starting to bulge.

Two ways out of that. Fit a gastric band, or voluntarily make a conscious effort to eat less.

Two choices, neither of them pleasant.

But it’s either that or obesity, BIG TIME.

About this blog

Back Off, Bacteria! is the blog of Hyper Hygiene Ltd, supplier of what we’re convinced is the most effective health protection system in the world. A fully mobile, all-automatic Hypersteriliser machine mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide, spreading everywhere and eliminating all bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Hypersteriliser units are supplied to businesses and institutions across the UK, notably the haematology and other critical units at Salford Royal Hospital, Greater Manchester; Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospital; South Warwickshire Hospital; Coventry & Warwickshire Hospital; and Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead.

The Halo Hypersteriliser system achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed. It is the only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. It is also EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.

How British businesses walk away from saving £319 billion a year

£319 billion a year – just waiting for British businesses to claim it back. Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it is how the saying goes. An attitude that’s costing British businesses £319 billion a year.

That’s the current price tag for UK absenteeism (£29 billion a year) and presenteeism (£290 billion) combined. Money paid out to cover absentees – people taking off sick from work. And presentees, who cost 10 times more – sick people going to work anyway, and trying to wing it.

British businesses losing out

Not that British businesses are ignoring the problem. Sick leave and low productivity are familiar gripes around every board room table. We’re familiar with the issue, but don’t do anything about it.

Meanwhile £319 billion is not exactly chicken feed. More than twice the cost of the NHS budget – the cost of caring for A WHOLE COUNTRY of sick people – it makes even Brexit look like a sideshow.

Yes, but.

Businesses KNOW the problem. And freeze up tharn, like a rabbit in the headlights.

Sure, illness happens. It’s a downside everybody faces. What can you do?

None of your corporate fitness or wellness programmes, that’s for sure. Already set to be worth £20 billion by 2020, they’re focused more on keeping well people well than physically avoiding illness.

Wellness vs illness prevention

Where is the health protection package that actually prevents illness?

Apart from the flu jab option offered up as an afterthought, you’d be hard pressed to find one.

Which makes even less sense when you think about it.

That British businesses are haemorrhaging cash to the tune of £319 billion a year in illness costs, and just accept it. Yet at the same time are gleefully prepared to spend £22 billion a year on health and wellness.

It’s not as if the cause of illnesses not known either. According to the ONS, more than half of sickness absences are directly related to infections caused by germs – minor illnesses 33.1%; gastrointestinal problems 6.6%; eye, ear, nose and mouth issues 4.5%; respiratory conditions 3.5%; headaches 3.4% and genito-urinary problems 3.0%.

Workplace health hazards

Against that, any attempt to stop germs are pretty well zero, with most workplaces positively teeming with health hazards.

These risks are compounded by low levels of personal hygiene.

Mop and bucket defence?

That leaves the only defence against germs, if any, to the nightly char service. The quick once-over at £20 or £30 an hour to make the place neat and tidy, never really intended for anything to do with health.

A missed opportunity – because for only another £30, the whole place could be sterilised throughout, eliminating all germs entirely. No viruses, no bacteria, no fungi – no illnesses to catch, no need for time off, no underpowered staff unwell at their desks.

Can it really be that easy?

Well at £30 a day, it’s not expensive to fund out, is it?

Not when there’s £319 billion waiting to be clawed back.

About this blog

Back Off, Bacteria! is the blog of Hyper Hygiene Ltd, supplier of what we’re convinced is the most effective health protection system in the world. A fully mobile, all-automatic Hypersteriliser machine mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide, spreading everywhere and eliminating all bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Hypersteriliser units are supplied to businesses and institutions across the UK, notably the haematology and other critical units at Salford Royal Hospital, Greater Manchester; Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospital; South Warwickshire Hospital; Coventry & Warwickshire Hospital; and Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead.

The Halo Hypersteriliser system achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed. It is the only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. It is also EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.

Staff health costs: big losses or huge gains?

Man climbing in
Climb into staff health properly – and you’ll never look back.
Photo by whereslugo on Unsplash

The more you look into it, staff health really is the difference between success and failure.

Yes, most of the time they’re doing OK, getting on with their jobs, keeping the wheels turning.

Except OK is not OK, is it?

OK is mediocre, ordinary, a non-competing nowhere.

Staff health for winners

You need them to be better. To be the champions. Winners at everything they do. To climb out of themselves and make you No 1.

But staff health is not where you start, is it? Not if you’re like most execs.

You’re thinking incentives and motivation. Going the extra mile, putting in more effort.

Rev them up enough and you can rule the world.

Sure, throw money at them and it’s possible. Bonuses, higher salaries, holiday expenses, the sky’s the limit.

Not good for the balance sheet though, without results to justify it. And stretching that far, staff see it for what it is – danger money.

The wellbeing imperative

Alright, so how about feelgood?

Easier on the balance sheet and makes you Mr Nice Guy.

Nice offices, comfortable furniture, soothing décor and a slew of extras for wellbeing. Gym membership, keep fit classes, weight-loss clinics, stop smoking groups, free medical check-ups, whatever shows you’re thinking of them.

Involvement would be good too. Get them to engage. Everybody’s in this together, sharing the road to a glorious destiny.

Nice thinking, but not about staff health is it?

More about souped-up performance. More commitment, longer hours, shorter weekends – the real price tag of the extra mile.

It’s the cliché of modern business. 18 hour days, always-on obsession, emails, social networks, the Internet – the non-stop work ethic.

No time for losers – or winners

Precisely where staff health takes a dive.

Because nobody, including you, can work without proper rest and downtime. To re-engage with family, friends and have a chance to be themselves. To feel what it is to be alive and free – away from the pressures of responsibility.

Eight hours a day is enough, mind and body need to recharge. Better than that, to unwind, relieve the tensions of the day – to relax, reset and reboot.

Without that balance, staff health quickly takes its toll.

Of course, nobody’s booking time off and taking to their bed. They’re not actually sick.

No, not actually – but partially.

Not enough sleep, they can’t concentrate so well. Tired and less resilient, fatigued bodies set them up for colds and flu. Rushed and missed meals make their systems glitch – gastric upsets, ulcers or worse.

Yes, they’re on deck and going for it, as committed as before. But focus is fuzzy, reactions are slowed, perceptions are blunted and reflexes not functioning.

Slow going

Sure, they’re still going the extra mile. Except now it takes longer, because heads aren’t quite right. More effort is needed, more mistakes get made, more things have to get done twice. Inevitably, everything costs more money.

And so it goes, day after day – staff health slowing you down and costing you money.

Except it doesn’t LOOK like that, because that’s how it always is.

Your staff – always over-keen, overstretched, overindulged, overworked. While inside they’re stressed, worried, lacking confidence and not feeling very well.

They are your Ferrari and you’re racing them untuned. Clogged injectors, carboned up manifolds, electronics out of adjustment – and you expect them to win.

Overlook staff health, and you really are for the pits.

Off-tune, off-song

Which is why being unwell at work costs ten times more than being absent and in bed.

Your prize performers are off-song and you’re paying for under-delivery.

57.5 days a year most staff are like that – almost three working months. At their desks, but going through the motions. Partially sick but pretending not to be. Or brazenly sneezing and toughing it out.

Either way, robbing you a quarter of a year’s worth of their capability.

Except it’s you robbing yourself, not putting staff health to the fore.

But what if it wasn’t like that?

Take Five

What if staff health was your No 1 priority – tuned and honed to top performance, ALL THE TIME?

For a start, you’d give them time. To be at ease and deliver their best, comfortably. No more stress, no more friction and relationships going south because there aren’t enough hours for care, consideration and patience.

No more physical illnesses either. They might all be a team and working on top of one another – but there’s no germs to spread, or lingering around. Any viruses or bacteria are eliminated after hours, by sterilising the place when everybody is relaxing.

Which is where staff health really starts paying dividends.

Feeling good and healthy, they really can be more revved up and committed. More bounce to the pounce – more capable of the extra mile, even inside normal business hours.

And guess what?

All about time

All it costs is time – which you were paying for anyway, remember those lost three months? Time, and a little effort making the place germ-free and safe – so your super-tuned thoroughbreds can perform without hazard.

Want more still?

Start thinking involvement and engagement all over again. And this time, watch it work.

About this blog

Back Off, Bacteria! is the blog of Hyper Hygiene Ltd, supplier of what we’re convinced is the most effective health protection system in the world. A fully mobile, all-automatic Hypersteriliser machine mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide, spreading everywhere and eliminating all bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Hypersteriliser units are supplied to businesses and institutions across the UK, notably the haematology and other critical units at Salford Royal Hospital, Greater Manchester; Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospital; South Warwickshire Hospital; Coventry & Warwickshire Hospital; and Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead.

The Halo Hypersteriliser system achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed. It is the only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. It is also EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.