Study Reveals Chemical that Causes Childhood Obesity

Among the other potential wellbeing risks that are linked to chemical bisphenol A (BPA), a new study has shown that childhood obesity is also connected to the controversial chemical.


The FDA has banned the use of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups, but the chemical is still used to manufacture many metal food and beverage cans. The FDA state that there is no evidence that very low levels of human exposure to BPA through the diet are unsafe, though they continue to study the issue, and the study shows that BPA may act as an endocrine disruptor in the body, meaning that it can affect hormone activity.


According to the study, children who had the highest levels of BPA in their urine were more than twice as likely to be obese as children who had the lowest levels. Researcher Leonardo Trasande, MD, an associate professor of paediatrics and environmental medicine at the New York University School of Medicine, says ‘We often think of [childhood obesity] as a by-product of an unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity, but environmental exposures including chemicals may play a role, too’.


The team studied 3000 young people, ages 6 to 9, testing the BPA levels in their urine. The results were that just over 10% of young people with the lowest levels of BPA were obese, whereas 22.3% of kids with the highest levels of BPA were obese. So what can you do about it?


You can look after your child’s wellness by limiting their BPA exposure.  Trasande says ‘We know that 99% of our exposure to BPA is from food, and cans are currently the major source,’ so ‘Try to avoid any aluminium cans or plastic containers’ and choose fresh, and even frozen fruits and vegetables over tinned varieties. He concluded ‘The power of the purse or wallet can’t be underestimated. Families have a lot of latitude to choose a healthier lifestyle.’


However, it is important to note that critics argue the study can’t say that BPA causes obesity, but it simply shows a link and more studies are needed to clarify the relationship.

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