BPA linked to obesity risk in adolescent girls
Puberty-age girls who have high levels of bisphenol-A (BPA) in their bodies might have a higher risk for obesity, according to a new Kaiser Permanente study.
Research found that girls who had higher-than-average levels of the chemical in their urine were more likely to become overweight or obese – a problem that is already plaguing about 17 percent of U.S. children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
BPA is a chemical that is used to make plastics and other materials – it can be found in things like water bottles, cash register receipts and plastic food containers.
Studies have linked BPA to endocrine disruption, and it also has estrogenic properties, which means it can mimic the presence of estrogen in the body and disrupt delicate hormonal balances. For pre-teen girls on the cusp of puberty and menstruation, BPA can pose particularly dangerous effects, the researchers said.
"Girls in the midst of puberty may be more sensitive to the impacts of BPA on their energy balance and fat metabolism," said principal investigator of the study De-Kun Li, MD, PhD, a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif.
Younger adolescents particularly at risk
After studying 1,326 male and female children and adolescents, Li and colleagues found that girls between the ages of 9 and 12 with high levels of BPA in their urine had a risk of being overweight that was five times greater than girls with low levels of the chemical in their urine. Thirty-six percent of the 9- to 12-year-old girls with higher-than-average levels of BPA were overweight, compared to 21 percent of those with lower-than-average levels of the chemical.
"Our study suggests that BPA could be a potential new environmental obesogen, a chemical compound that can disrupt the normal development and balance of lipid metabolism, which can lead to obesity," Li wrote. "Worldwide exposure to BPA in the human population may be contributing to the worldwide obesity epidemic."
The study is published in the journal PLOS One.
Source: Science Daily