Mother's Exposure To BPA During Pregnancy Can Make Her Baby Obese Upon Growth

By Elizabeth Anderson, Parent Herald May 19, 05:30 am

Exposure to widely used chemical BPA by pregnant mothers in their trimester has been associated with measures of obesity in their children at age seven. The study, conducted by researchers from the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health (CCCEH) at the Mailman School of Public Health, was published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal.

"This study provides evidence that prenatal exposure to BPA may contribute to developmental origins of obesity as determined by measures of body fat in children as opposed to the traditional indicator of body mass index, which only considers height and weight," said lead author Lori Hoepner, DrPH via Science Daily. Hoepner is an investigator at the CCCEH. 

Higher BPA Exposure Pre-Birth Showed Effects At Seven

Science Daily reported that BPA is a chemical found in plastic water bottles, metal food cans and thermal receipt paper. It was noted that BPA has been associated with asthma, ADHD, anxiety, diabetes, depression, early puberty in girls, heart disease in adults and obesity.

The researchers studied the urine samples and body sizes of children of 369 mother and child pairs in New York City from pregnancy through early childhood. According to Environmental Health News, they found that higher exposure to BPA before birth corresponded to children at age seven having higher body fat masses and waist sizes.

BPA exposure before birth was determined through the urine of the mothers during their third trimester. Height and weight were measured for children as they turned five and seven. Additional measurements for waist circumference and fat mass was conducted for children aged seven.

BPA Exposure Study Still Needs To Be Expanded

"BPA is an endocrine-active chemical but its potency is over a million-fold less than the pregnancy oestrogens that circulate to the foetus during normal pregnancy, so the BPA is a drop in the ocean compared with this," said Professor Richard Sharpe via Mirror. Sharpe leads the Male Reproductive Health Research Team at the University of Edinburgh.

Meanwhile, Professor Stephen O'Rahilly via Mirror said that the study is very small in nature and that its results are "highly preliminary and should not influence public health policy." O'Rahilly, the director of the Metabolic Research Laboratories at Cambridge University added that there needs to be more testing  in larger studies.

Should we be worried about BPA causing obesity in children? Write your comments below.

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