The answer to why premature babies have a greater risk of becoming obese could be in the gut.  

Researchers from Auckland University have found that bacteria behaved differently in children who were born at fewer than 32 weeks.  They were more likely to develop obesity and diabetes, Associate Professor Dr Justin O’Sullivan said.

In the recent, yet-to-be-published study, the research team looked at 100 8-year-old children in Auckland, half of which were born premature.  The researchers did not find differences in the types of gut bacteria in those children – but they did find the bacteria behaved differently.

O’Sullivan said he hoped the research would lead towards reducing the long-term risks for people born premature.

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