Recent reviews support the hypothesis that even brief exposures early in life to endocrine-disrupting chemicals like pesticides, dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE), hexachlorobenzene, dioxin-like compounds and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) may increase body weight.
Higher PCB levels were associated with higher BMI standard deviation scores (SDS) in children between ages 1 and 3. Higher DDE levels showed a slight increase in BMI SDS in 3-year-old children, with a somewhat stronger association in children of smoking mothers than of nonsmoking mothers. The study concluded that simultaneous intrauterine exposure to endocrine disruptors may compound the weight-enhancing effects of maternal smoking during pregnancy.
A random sample of 138 mother-infant pairs living in Flanders, Belgium was used for the study, with follow-up until the children were 3 years old. The study measured BMI as SDS of children ages 1 to 3, as well as pollutants measured in cord blood.
“There is a known correlation between BMI during the preschool years and adult BMI,” wrote lead study author Stijn L. Verhulst and colleagues. “This is the first study demonstrating that environmental pollution may influence BMI during the critical first few years of life.”
EHP editor-in-chief Hugh A. Tilson, PhD said, “With childhood obesity continuing to increase at an alarming rate, this study is an important step in assessing possible mechanisms by which pollutants may alter energy metabolism early in life.”
Authors include Stijn L. Verhulst, Vera Nelen, Elly Den Hond, Gudrun Koppen, Caroline Beunckens, Carl Vael, Greet Schoeters and Kristine Desager.
Julie Hayworth-Perman | Newswise Science News
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There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
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