News article

Prenatal exposure to environmental chemicals linked to childhood obesity

Posted:  Monday, November 30, 2015

When it comes to childhood obesity, one can’t fix the blame on genes alone! American researchers have found that if mothers were exposed to higher concentrations of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) when pregnant, then their offspring reported higher overall adiposity and a more rapid increase in body mass index z-scores (BMIz) in early childhood. Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are widely used in oil and water-resistant textile coatings, nonstick cookware, food-container coatings, floor polish, firefighting foam, and industrial surfactants.

Published in the journal Obesity, the study measured PFOA and perfluorooctane sulfonic (PFOS), perfluorononanoic (PFNA), and perfluorohexane sulfonic (PFHxS) acids in prenatal serum samples of 468 women who were 16 to 26 weeks pregnant. Eighty seven percent of the samples were collected at 16 weeks of gestation.

The researchers then measured the PFAS concentrations and 3 adiposity measures (BMIz scores, waist circumference, and body fat) in 285 of the offspring aged between 2 and 8 years and in 204 children at 8 years. The researchers adjusted for socioeconomic variables, perinatal variables, prenatal urinary bis-phenol A (BPA) concentrations, prenatal vitamin use, and dietary parameters (frequency of fish, fruit and vegetable intake) among the mothers.

The following were the results:

The median PFOA concentrations in the study group were more than double the figures in pregnant women in the 2003–2004 and 2005–2006 US National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES). This can be attributed to ingestion of drinking water contaminated with PFOA.

The association between PFOA concentrations and the 3 adiposity measures was positive up to the 50th percentile of PFOA concentrations. This association declined at concentrations above the 50th percentile.

A similar dose-response relationship existed when the researchers assessed PFOA tertiles and child adiposity.

Children born to women in the second and third tertiles were 84% and 54% more likely to be overweight or obese at 8 years respectively than those who fell in the first tertile.

Median waist circumferences of children from the second and third tertiles were 4.3 cm and 2.2 cm greater than children of mothers in the first tertile.

Children of mothers in the second and third tertiles also reported higher BMI gains from ages 2 to 8 years.

These results persisted even after adjusting for urinary BPA, breastfeeding status and gestational weight gain.

Research in animals has found PFAS to alter glucose homeostasis, increase body weight, and alter adipocyte differentiation. However, the researchers have asked for other longitudinal studies with detailed child adiposity measures to establish their findings strongly.

News source:- Click Here