Parents may have yet another reason to avoid bisphenol A (BPA), as the chemical may be contributing to obesity in kids, according to new research.
Scientists found that, in a nationally representative study of almost 3,000 kids and teens, those with the highest levels of BPA in their urine were 2.6 times more likely to be obese than those with low levels of the estrogen-like chemical, reports NBC News.
The new report was published in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association and comes after the FDA banned BPA from being used in baby bottles. It is also the latest evidence that indicates childhood obesity may be affected by more than just diet and exercise.
Dr. Leonardo Trasande, a professor of pediatrics and environmental medicine at the New York University School of Medicine, stated that:
“Clearly poor diet and lack of physical activity contribute to increased fat mass, but the story doesn’t end there.”
The link between BPA levels and obesity was only statistically significant for white children and adolescents, who made up about 62 percent of the study’s participants, reports The Los Angeles Times. Connections between high BPA levels and obesity were not found in children and teens of black or Hispanic descent, although researchers have said that that link will need more study.
BPA is a chemical agent used to protect aluminum food cans from corrosion, and also to strengthen plastic bottles, toys, and containers. Consumer groups and public health officials have grown alarmed at the use of BPA amid evidence that the chemical accumulates readily in the body’s fat stores, disrupting hormones that play crucial roles in sexual development, energy use, and fat deposition.
While the latest study will likely add to concerns about the safety of BPA and humans, its authors have cautioned that they have not yet established a cause-and-effect link between BPA and obesity.