Knowledge and attitudes of adolescents towards the human microbiome and antibiotic resistance: a qualitative study

  09 April 2021

Adolescents were aware of ‘good microbes’ in the body but lacked deeper knowledge. Adolescents’ knowledge of, and intentions to use, antibiotics appropriately differed by their levels of scientific study. Adolescents lacked knowledge on the consequences of diet on the microbiome, and therefore lacked capability and motivation to change behaviour. Educators felt capable and motivated to teach microbiome topics but lacked opportunity though absence of topics in the national curriculum and lack of time to teach additional topics.

A disparity in knowledge of adolescents needs to be addressed through increasing antibiotic and microbiome topics in the national curriculum. Public antibiotic campaigns could include communication about the microbiome to increase awareness. Educational resources could motivate adolescents and improve their knowledge, skills and opportunity to improve diet and antibiotic use; so, supporting the UK antimicrobial resistance (AMR) national action plan.

Author(s): Catherine V Hayes, Charlotte V Eley, Fiona Wood, Alicia Demirjian, Cliodna A M McNulty
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