The controversial chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) is under fire again as a new study links it to obesity in kids. BPA is used in the manufacturing of liners in metal food and beverage cans and in some plastic containers. Previous studies have suggested that it can affect hormone activity in people, and the FDA has banned its use in baby bottles and sippy cups. The FDA has not issued a full ban on using BPAs in other products stating that there is no evidence that very low levels of human exposure to the chemical through diet is unsafe. However, they have said they will continue to study the issue.
In the new study, researchers report that children with the highest levels of BPA in their urine were more than twice as likely to be obese than children who had the lowest levels.
The study does not proclaim that BPAs cause obesity in children, only that there is a link.
It demonstrates the need for a broader paradigm in the way we think about childhood obesity, says researcher Leonardo Trasande, MD. We often think of it as a byproduct of an unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity, but environmental exposures including chemicals may play a role, too.
Trasande and his colleagues analyzed data from a nationwide health and nutrition survey conducted between 2003 and 2008. Close to 3,000 kids age six to 19 were weighed, measured and had their urine tested for BPA. They also answered a range of diet and lifestyle questions.
In total, about one-third of the kids were overweight and 18 percent were obese.
The average kid had close to three nanograms - three billionths of a gram - of BPA in every milliliter of urine.
The researchers found that just over 10 percent of kids with the lowest BPA levels were obese, compared to 22 percent of those with the highest BPA, according to results published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. That was after taking into account how much kids ate overall,
Since we have been talking about healthier school lunches, I thought I would share with you an interesting article in last month's Pediatrics which related to regulations on school snacks.
While the nutrition standards for school meals changed for the 2012-2013 school year, the new guidelines do not effect foods in vending machines, snack bars or other venues within the school that are not a part of the regular school meal programs. These foods (typically snacks and drinks) are termed competitive foods as they compete with school breakfasts and lunches.
This study looked at weight changes for 6,300 students between 2004-2007 and followed the students from fifth to eighth grade. They found that adolescents in states with strict laws regulating the sale of competitive foods gained less weight over this 3 year period than those living in states without laws.
As the childhood obesity epidemic continues (the CDC now estimates that 1/5 of American children are obese), public health officials continue to look at ways to improve a child's eating habits during the school day. The laws surrounding snack foods at school differ by state. There are no laws in some states, weak laws (where recommendations were made but there were no specific guidelines), and strong laws (where detailed nutritional standards were issued).
The study did not conclude that strong laws were directly responsible for the differences in a student's weight gain, but it did conclude that these outcomes tended to happen in states with strong laws. That would seem to make sense to me as most children including my own, if given the opportunity, would at times choose vending machine snacks over a healthy school lunch.
I also think that this is more common as the children become teens and seem to snack for lunch while multi-tasking rather than sitting down to eat a well balanced lunch. I continually hear this c
New York City's health board has passed a rule banning super-sized, sugary drinks at restaurants, concession stands and other eateries.
An inspiring story about a mother-daughter duo who beat obesity. Find out how they did it together!