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BPA tied to obesity

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Ernest Nagel

is old
Feb 26, 2006

BPA Levels Tied to Obesity in Youths

Bisphenol A, or BPA, is a chemical widely used to prevent metal corrosion in food packaging, and more than 90 percent of Americans have detectable BPA in their urine. Now a new study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association has found that high levels of urinary BPA are associated with an increased risk of childhood obesity.

Scientists randomly selected 2,838 children ages 6 to 19 from participants enrolled in a larger health study, and measured their urinary BPA levels. About 34 percent were overweight; nearly 18 percent were obese.

The rate of obesity in children in the highest quartile of BPA concentrations was about twice that among children in the other 75 percent, the researchers found, even after controlling for age, income, parental education, TV watching and diet.

But the correlation did not hold when black or Hispanic children were considered separately. The reason for the racial difference is unclear, said the study’s lead author, Dr. Leonardo Trasande, an associate professor of pediatrics at the N.Y.U. School of Medicine.

Dr. Trasande said that while diet and physical activity are the leading causes of obesity, other factors should be considered. Moreover, he added, “our study suggests the need to reconsider the decision not to ban BPA in food packaging.”