Saturday, September 12, 2009

Why are you so fat?

Video games, no will-power, laziness, and well…you’re just a glutton, top the list of explanations for the recent obesity epidemic. But is there more to this story? Perhaps. A September 11, 2009 Newsweek article, Born to be Big, describes a Harvard School of Public Health study that shows obesity in infants, less than 6 months old, has risen 73 percent since 1980. The old model above doesn’t fit with America’s epidemic of obese 6-month-olds. So what’s going on?

“Despite what we’ve heard,” said Dr. Bruce Blumberg, Professor of Developmental and Cell Biology and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of California, Irvine, “diet and exercise alone are insufficient to explain the obesity epidemic...Many of the afflictions we have as adults arise during development and early childhood as a result of the foods we eat, the chemicals we’re exposed to, a variety of factors.”

It seems there are chemicals in our environment that can accumulate inside our bodies, program us to be fat and to stay fat.

What can you do? Reduce your exposure to unnecessary synthetic chemicals, particularly to the top three obesogens:

  1. Bisphenol-a (BPA) is found in hard plastics like baby bottles with the numbers 3 and 7 at the bottom. It’s also found in the epoxy liners of canned foods.
  2. Phthalates are found in personal care products like perfume, lotions, nail polish, and shampoo – even baby lotion and baby shampoo. They are also used as a softening agent in plastics like baby teethers and toys. And the new car smell so many love? Yup, the smell of phthalates.
  3. Organotins are pesticides found in conventionally grown produce.

You can significantly reduce your exposure by avoiding plastic whenever possible. Perhaps the most important places to avoid plastic would be for children, and for food and water containers. Read the labels on all personal care products carefully and apply the “If you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin” rule. Finally, chose canned foods in BPA-free cans.

Learn more:

Over the last two decades, the incidence of obesity and associated metabolic syndrome diseases has risen dramatically, becoming a global health crisis.

Endocrinolgy (Journal)

Developmental Exposure to Endocrine Disruptors and the Obesity Epidemic

Science Direct

Born to be Big