We hear about the dangers of various chemicals day in and day out. Chemicals that cause cancer or behavioral problems or the growth of a third limb. Ok, no extra limbs have been reported thus far, but that doesn’t take away from the threat that chemicals impose on our health. There are so many threats and scare tactic messages that it’s easy to sweep such thoughts under the rug and pretend they’re not going to affect you. But this one hits a little closer to home considering the major problem our children are facing these days: obesity.
There’s no avoiding the fact that childhood obesity is on a rapid rise. The increase is often attributed to our lazy lifestyles and over-abundance of food, but researchers are saying there has not been a dramatic enough change in diet and exercise in the last few decades to account for such a drastic rise.
Researchers are now focusing on environmental triggers, called obesogens. These are things in our environment that can turn on obesity genes. A recent study in China confirmed the findings of an earlier study performed in the US. The study showed a correlation between obesity and levels of the chemical BPA in the urine of girls 9 to 12. The more BPA, the greater the risk of obesity. BPA is a chemical found in plastics and the lining of cans. The relationship between the chemical and weight was only found in girls in this specific age group, leading researchers to believe the BPA may be interfering with hormonal processes, as BPA mimics estrogen.
What I find pretty disconcerting is that the FDA has banned the use of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups (which I appreciate), but it’s still allowed to be used in food packaging. Using food that is packaged in boxes, BPA-free cans, or sticking with fresh foods is one way to help cut down on BPA exposure, which is especially important in babies and kids.
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