The colonisation and development of the gut microbiota has been implicated in paediatric metabolic disorders via its powerful effect on host metabolic and immune homeostasis. Here we summarise the evidence from human studies on the early gut microbiota and paediatric overweight and obesity. Manipulation of the early gut microbiota may represent a promising target for countering the burgeoning metabolic disorders in the paediatric population, provided the assembly patterns of microbiota and their health consequences can be decoded. Therefore, in this review, we pay particular attention to the important ecological drivers affecting the community dynamics of the early gut microbiota. We then discuss the knowledge gaps in commonly studied exposures linking the gut microbiota to metabolic disorders, especially regarding maternal factors and antibiotic use. This review also attempts to give directions for future studies aiming to identify predictive and corrective measures for paediatric metabolic disorders based on the gut microbiota. Gut microbiota; Metabolism; Paediatric overweight and obesity; Ecological driver; Dynamics; Infants.
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