More Plastics, More Obese Kids

A Common Chemical's Link to Children's Health




A causal link between the worldwide epidemic of childhood obesity and phthalates commonly used in soft plastics, packaging and many personal care products is becoming more evident. A Korean study from Sanggye Paik Hospital at the Inje University College of Medicine, in Seoul, shows that the risk of childhood obesity increases with the level of DEHP (di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate) in the bloodstream.

The study indicates that phthalates may change gene expression associated with fat metabolism. DEHP in particular is a suspected endocrine disruptor, or hormone-altering agent. Children with the highest DEHP levels were nearly five times more likely of being obese than children with the lowest levels. The scientists studied 204 children ages 6 to 13, of whom 105 were obese.

A chemical commonly used to soften plastics, DEHP is found in some children’s toys, as well as myriad household items. Phthalates can be found in pacifiers, plastic food packaging, medical equipment and building materials like vinyl flooring. Personal care products such as soap, shampoo and nail polish may also contain phthalates.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Music Lessons Make Kids Smarter

Dutch 6-year-olds that sang, listened to music and played an instrument one to two hours a week showed significantly enhanced cognitive abilities and better grades two and a half years later.

Screentime Overdose Means Unhappy Teens

Teens that spend the most time on digital devices tend to be unhappier, reports a San Diego State University study of a million teens.

Teen Marijuana Use Fosters Depression

Teens using marijuana have a higher risk of depression as young adults, and depressed young teens are more likely to be using marijuana by age 18.

Naps Boost Toddler Talk

Toddlers under age three that took the most daytime naps developed larger vocabularies over time, British researchers found.

Negative Stereotypes Sabotage Girl Soccer Players

Teenage girls performed worst in a soccer ball-dribbling drill after reading an article about the perceived incompetence of female soccer players.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags