Study Links Prenatal Exposure to Chemicals With Higher BMI in Toddlers

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.

Media Contact

Julie Hayworth-Perman Newswise Science News

All latest news from the category: Studies and Analyses

innovations-report maintains a wealth of in-depth studies and analyses from a variety of subject areas including business and finance, medicine and pharmacology, ecology and the environment, energy, communications and media, transportation, work, family and leisure.

Back to home

Comments (0)

Write a comment

Newest articles

Neurons: How RNA granules grow and shrink

LMU scientists have shown that small aggregates function as temporary RNA repositories, which are regulated by neural activity. Cells constantly have to adapt the level of activity of certain genes…

Custom ‘headphones’ boost atomic radio reception 100-fold

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have boosted the sensitivity of their atomic radio receiver a hundredfold by enclosing the small glass cylinder of cesium atoms…

New tech aims to drive down costs of hydrogen fuel

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new technique for extracting hydrogen gas from liquid carriers which is faster, less expensive and more energy efficient than previous approaches….

Partners & Sponsors