Just as National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month wraps up, a new study is out from JAMA Pediatrics showing that children who repeatedly take antibiotics before age 2 have a higher risk of obesity by age 5.

Researchers tracked the health records of more than 64,000 children living in urban Philadelphia and surrounding areas between 2001 and 2013 found that 69 percent of those children took some broad range antibiotics before they were 2 years old, but only "broad spectrum" antibiotics seemed to be associated with obesity.

Broad spectrum antibiotics are typically used to treat more serious infections and should be avoided unless absolutely necessary.

"If you use the stronger medications as the first line of defense, your child could develop a resistance, and those drugs won't be as effective if and when she really needs them," Dr. Ari Brown told Parents

TIME reports that taking so many antibiotics at such a young age can actually kill off bacteria that can be helpful for digestion in the gut. Studies with mice have proven this theory, so it is thought that something similar could be occurring in the bodies of young children, too.

Approximately 12.7 million children ages 2 to 19 are obese in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Help your kids stay fit and promote a healthy lifestyle in your home with these tips.

Photo of pills courtesy of Shutterstock.