Child Obesity and BPA

Obesity Rising

Another potential explanation for childhood obesity? Researchers from NYU’s medical school have found a correlation between the amount of bisphenol A (BPA) in children’s urine and their body mass index. The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

What you need to know:

BPA is a chemical compound used as a building block of the linings that are found in plastic bottles and aluminum cans. More than seven billion pounds of BPA are produced annually for food packaging among other uses. Some of it ends up in the food we ingest. BPA behaves like the hormone estrogen – once it enters the body it disturbs the normal operation of certain genes. BPA is removed from the body by urination, but not all.

22% of the children with the highest levels of BPA were found to be obese. Only 10% of the kids with the lowest levels were obese. The study examined information from over 2800 children aged 6-19. The majority had some level of BPA

Estrogen mimicking chemicals are potentially harmful even at very low doses, and one potential explanation for the obesity correlation is that BPA somehow triggers a metabolism change in kids that makes it easier for their bodies to gain weight.

What to do at the supermarket:

BPA does not appear as an ingredient on a food label because it is part of the packaging, not the food. Almost any canned product you are holding contains BPA. Eden and Muir Glen have BPA free products.

Please remember that there ARE alternatives to canned food. If fresh fruit and veggies are in season, opt for those. Check the freezers for bags of frozen vegetables.

  • DarkStar

    Wow, wait to try and paint a causal relationship where none exists.
    This is simple logic, let me walk you through it. Various levels of BPA is present in many cans and/or plastic bottles. Obese people tend to eat and drink more then non-obese people and as such an obese person is likely to have higher levels of anything found in cans and/or plastic bottles.

    • Mari

      Looks like the study actually DID control for caloric intake, as well as race/ethnicity, age, caregiver education, poverty to income ratio, sex, serum cotinine level, television watching, and urinary creatinine level…

      • Brittany

        Even controlling for calories, if participant 1 consumes 2000 calories of coke and participant 2 consumes 2000 calories of veggies, I can guarantee you that participant 1 will be obese and participant 2 will not. Participant 1 will also happen to have more BPA and participant 2 will have none.

    • Brittany

      Thank you! I was about to post the same thing. I’m sure its the canned food/soda that causes obesity… not the cans! Pretty sure causal vs. correlational relationships is covered in stats 101.

    • CarrieKate

      I was going to say the same thing, but perhaps the truth is really somewhere in between. Messing with hormones can cause all sorts of problems.

  • Kevin
  • Amanda

    Does the BPA get impregnated into the food, or am I washing much of it away when I rinse my canned beans?

  • James Cooper

    The problem with the study seems to be that if the BPA is excreted in the urine, as it is supposed to be, it really isn’t in the child’s bodies.

    • MrBillWest

      Just because it is expelled in urine does not mean the body is unaffected. It has to go through the body to get to the bladder first of all. Compounds can remain unaltered and still cause damage.

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