Gut and oral microbiota perturbations have been observed in obese adults and adolescents; less is known about their influence on weight gain in young children. Here we analyzed the gut and oral microbiota of 226 two-year-olds with 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Weight and length were measured at seven time points and used to identify children with rapid infant weight gain (a strong risk factor for childhood obesity), and to derive growth curves with innovative Functional Data Analysis (FDA) techniques. We showed that growth curves were associated negatively with diversity, and positively with the Firmicutes-to-Bacteroidetes ratio, of the oral microbiota. We also demonstrated an association between the gut microbiota and child growth, even after controlling for the effect of diet on the microbiota. Lastly, we identified several bacterial genera that were associated with child growth patterns. These results suggest that by the age of two, the oral microbiota of children with rapid infant weight gain may have already begun to establish patterns often seen in obese adults. They also suggest that the gut microbiota at age two, while strongly influenced by diet, does not harbor obesity signatures many researchers identified in later life stages.
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