Can prebiotics help tackle the childhood obesity epidemic?

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Articlepeer-review


Globally, excess weight during childhood and adolescence has become a public health crisis with limited treatment options. Emerging evidence suggesting the involvement of gut microbial dysbiosis in obesity instills hope that targeting the gut microbiota could help prevent or treat obesity. In pre-clinical models and adults, prebiotic consumption has been shown to reduce adiposity partially via restoring symbiosis. However, there is a dearth of clinical research into its potential metabolic benefits in the pediatric population. Here, we provide a succinct overview of the common characteristics of the gut microbiota in childhood obesity and mechanisms of action of prebiotics conferring metabolic benefits. We then summarize available clinical trials in children with overweight or obesity investigating the effects of prebiotics on weight management. This review highlights several controversial aspects in the microbiota-dependent mechanisms by which prebiotics are thought to affect host metabolism that warrant future investigation in order to design efficacious interventions for pediatric obesity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1178155
JournalFrontiers in Endocrinology
Issue number2023
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2023
MoE publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal

Fields of Science

  • 416 Food Science
  • 3111 Biomedicine

Cite this