High BPA Levels and Child Obesity

Bisphenol A, better known as BPA, is an industrial chemical that has long been used in the manufacturing of plastic bottles and food containers. For years, BPA was also used in making baby bottles, until a USFDA report in 2010 identified the possible health hazards of BPA exposure. This resulted in the FDA outlawing the usage of BPA in all baby and children’s useables, including sippy cups and baby bottles.

Although USFDA does not permit the presence of BPA in infant formula packaging and other children’s useables, the ban does not extend to other products, such as canned food and beverage cans. So, children and juveniles are still at a risk of potential BPA exposure most of the time. In fact, blood samples of quite a few children show high BPA levels

Correlation Between High BPA levels and Childhood Obesity

There appears to be a correlation between the amount of BPA accumulated in the body and childhood obesity. A new study reported in the recent edition of the medical journal Pediatrics links higher BPA exposure to an increased risk of obese tendencies in children. The study was conducted by scientists of the University of Michigan who examined urine samples to measure BPA concentration in children within the age group of 6-18. Body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference of the participants were also recorded and taken into consideration. The scientists took this information from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey that was conducted from 2003 to 2010.

After investigating the data of around 3,370 children in great detail, the researchers noted that the likelihood of children becoming obese increases with higher urinary BPA levels in the body. The study also noticed that children with high BPA levels tend to have an abnormally high waist-to-height ratio as well as an alarmingly high body mass index, both pointing towards excess body fat.

Previous studies have confirmed a correlation between soaring urinary BPA levels and increased chances of getting cardiovascular problems and diabetes in adults. However, in the University of Michigan study involving children, no such link was observed. To be precise, this study did not detect any association between elevated BPA levels and abnormally high cholesterol or insulin levels that are considered to be biomarkers of chronic ailments.

BPA and Excess Body Fat

BPA is said to boost the storing of fat within the body by stimulating the production of fat cells. Also, the hormone insulin is known to hinder fat utilization and its actions help fat cells to accumulate more fat. In the presence of BPA, the insulin appears to be more effective in preventing fat stores from getting depleted. All this may contribute in making a person obese. So, although eating unhealthy food and leading a sedentary lifestyle are the primary culprits behind childhood obesity in the United States, exposure to such industrial chemicals is turning out to be an important factor in increasing the risk of obesity in children.