Intestinal Microbiota and Child Health

A Review of the Literature

Mikoto Nakamichi, MSN, RN; Dina Madi, PhD, RN


Pediatr Nurs. 2020;46(3):125-137. 

In This Article


Increasing chronic health problems in children is a significant issue of concern in the United States, and intestinal dysbiosis is strongly associated with the development of these diseases. The present literature review revealed that intestinal microbiota plays a critical role in preventing and treating children's chronic health problems and maintaining children's health, especially through enhancing protective functions of Bifidobacteria and Butyrate-producing microbiota and respecting the balanced intestinal ecosystem in critical periods. However, further studies are strongly required to understand the in-depth details of the complex interactions between the intestinal microbiota and human physiology, and multifactorial disease process and great research potential remains in this area, especially in human subjects.

Moreover, the present literature review included several meta-analyses and reviews with several RCTs and multiple large population size cohort longitudinal studies. Most studies used a state-of-the-art technology for genome sequencing and meticulous statistical analysis. Thus, the reliability of the present review is sufficient. However, at the same time, it was challenging for the authors to fully understand all studies because the authors are not specialized in molecular microbiology.

Lastly, all pediatric health care professionals must be aware of the important role of the intestinal microbiota in disease process of childhood common health problems, such as atopic diseases, asthma, IBS/IBD, obesity/NAFLD/diabetes mellitus, and cognitive-behavioral disorders, and effectively intervene by sharing and accomplishing the latest evidence-based knowledge and practice by various approaches Therefore, preventing negative alteration and promoting positive modification of the intestinal microbiota could have a significant influence on improving the health and well-being of children.