Date of Graduation

Summer 8-11-2018

Degree Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies


Background: Obesity is a universal issue that needs to be addressed from multiple angles as it has far reaching implications on an individual’s health and on the U.S. healthcare system. The gut microbiome may be an important link to bodyweight. Prebiotics are essentially the food source of healthy gut bacteria. This literature review examines how prebiotics affect bodyweight in overweight and obese children.

Methods: An exhaustive search of available medical literature was performed using MEDLINE-Ovid, CINAHL-EBSCO Host, and Web of Science. Keywords included: inulin-type fructan, prebiotic, obesity, overweight, body weight, and children. Studies were assessed for quality using GRADE.

Results: Eighty-two articles were assessed for relevancy to the clinical question. Two studies were found both of which were randomized controlled trials. In 1 of the studies, body weight z-scores significantly decreased in the prebiotic group. However, the low quality of the studies necessitates further studies with larger sample sizes.

Conclusion: Prebiotics should not be the sole therapy to decrease body weight in overweight and obese children but could augment other healthy lifestyle changes.

Keywords: Inulin-type fructan, prebiotic, obesity, overweight, body weight, and children