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Study finds link between phthalates and obesity in young children

Overweight_waistline1Exposure to phthalates could increase the risk of childhood obesity, according to a new study.

The research, published in the journal Environmental Research, is the first to examine the relationship between phthalate exposure and measurements used to identify obesity in children. The findings revealed a further risk factor for obesity in addition to physical inactivity, which is associated with an increased risk of asthma and other respiratory conditions.

The researchers analysed the urine tests of 387 children from New York City. The findings revealed that 97% of urine tests tested positive for exposure to the man-made chemicals, which are typically found in hygiene products. The phthalates included monoethyl phthalate (MEP) and other low molecular-weight phthalates.

The results also showed that an association between concentrations of these phthalates with BMI and waist circumference. For example, BMI in overweight girls with the highest exposure to MEP was 10% higher than those with the lowest MEP exposure.

The study's lead author Susan Teitelbaum, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine said: "Research has shown that exposure to these everyday chemicals may impair childhood neurodevelopment, but this is the first evidence demonstrating that they may contribute to childhood obesity."

Read the original paper

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