Is BPA Contributing to Childhood Obesity?
The short answer is that it looks that way. Animal studies from as early as last year have linked BPA to obesity, and a new human study from the NYU School of Medicine found yet another strong correlation between BPA and childhood obesity.
Researchers looked at BPA levels in the blood of 2,838 children ages six through nineteen and found that the white children in the study with high levels of BPA in the bloodstream were five times more likely to be obese. That’s right – the correlation was only in the white children, though the study did not look exclusively at white children. More study is needed to suss out why this seemed to affect white children but not other races.
This study is a big deal, because the results in humans seem to be the same as the results in the animal studies, making the correlation that much stronger. Even taking childhood obesity out of the equation, BPA is not healthy for our kids. So, how do we limit their exposure?
Fighting Childhood Obesity by Limiting Dietary BPA
The vast majority of kids’ BPA exposure is through food and drink, so if you want to help reduce their risks of childhood obesity, limiting dietary BPA is the best place to start. The FDA recently banned BPA in sippy cups and baby bottles, so at least those are safer for kids. Here are a few places where BPA can creep into our food:
- Canned Food – Unless it specifically says otherwise on the can, chances there is BPA in the lining. Exposure is higher with acidic foods, like tomatoes.
- Soda Cans – In case you needed another reason to tell your kiddos to put down the soda-pop, soda can linings also typically contain BPA. If you want to let your child have the occasional soda, a glass bottle is best.
- Plastic Bottles – Reusable plastic bottles – like sports bottles for water – can leach BPA into your drinks. Consider replacing them with stainless steel bottles.
- Receipts – Think twice before tossing your receipt from the grocery into your bags. Most receipts contain high levels of BPA that can contaminate your food. It’s also a good idea to wash your hands before preparing your child’s food if you’ve been handling receipts.
- Plastic Food Storage Containers – These can also leach BPA into food, especially if you put hot or acidic food into them.
- Plastic Wrap – Not all plastic wrap contains BPA, but to be on the safe side, opt for tin foil instead.
Childhood obesity isn’t the only reason to limit our kids’ exposure to BPA. BPA is an endocrine disruptor linked to all manner of health problems, including cancer, and children are especially vulnerable to many of BPA’s negative effects. You can read more about the negative effects of BPA here.
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by emilio labrador