The Global Fool

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The Worldwide Obesity Epidemic: Links to Bisphenol A
Jun25

The Worldwide Obesity Epidemic: Links to Bisphenol A

By The Editors In a previous post, we discussed globesity – the escalating global epidemic of overweight and obesity –  and said that controlling globesity requires a variety of approaches, including the understanding of the association between obesity and exposure to environmental pollutants. There are many widespread environmental pollutants that may be contributing to the development of obesity. One of these pollutants is bisphenol A (BPA). In 2012, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicated that urine BPA is associated with obesity in children and adolescents. Now, results from a study published in the scientific journal PLOS One show that high levels of exposure to BPA might contribute to obesity in girls 9 – 12 years old. The former study involved a U.S. population, while the latter study involved a Chinese population. Therefore, worldwide exposure to BPA in the human population may be contributing to the worldwide obesity epidemic. What is BPA? According to the US Food and Drug administration (FDA), BPA is an industrial chemical used to make a hard, clear plastic known as polycarbonate, which has been used in many consumer products, including reusable water bottles. BPA is also found in epoxy resins, which act as a protective lining on the inside of metal-based food and beverage cans. How does BPA get into the body? The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences tells us that the primary source of exposure to BPA for most people is through the diet. While air, dust, and water are other possible sources of exposure, BPA in food and beverages accounts for the majority of daily human exposure. Bisphenol A can leach into food from the protective internal epoxy resin coatings of canned foods and from consumer products such as polycarbonate tableware, food storage containers, water bottles, and baby bottles. The degree to which BPA leaches from polycarbonate bottles into liquid may depend more on the temperature of the liquid or bottle, than the age of the container. BPA can also be found in breast milk. In the U.S., BPA has been detected in more than 92% of urine samples, including samples from children. In addition, BPA has been detected in populations from many other countries. The study published in PLOS One was conducted in Shanghai as part of a larger national study of puberty and adolescent health.  “This study provides evidence from a human population that confirms the findings from animal studies — that high BPA exposure levels could increase the risk of overweight or obesity,” said Dr. De-Kun Li, principal investigator of the study and a senior research scientist at the Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente...

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Globesity
May25

Globesity

By The Editors What is “globesity”?  It’s the escalating global epidemic of overweight and obesity – one additional aspect of the great acceleration. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), obesity is “a complex condition, one with serious social and psychological dimensions, that affects virtually all age and socioeconomic groups and threatens to overwhelm both developed and developing countries.” The WHO adds that “Contrary to conventional wisdom, the obesity epidemic is not restricted to industrialized societies; in developing countries, it is estimated that over 115 million people suffer from obesity-related problems.” Overweight and obesity are major risk factors for a number of chronic diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.  Globally, at least 2.8 million people die each year as a result of being overweight or obese. The International Obesity Taskforce has developed two interactive maps that show the worldwide prevalence of obesity, one map for obesity prevalence in adults and the other for obesity prevalence in children.   You can find these maps here. Controlling globesity requires a variety of approaches – one of these approaches should be to understand the association between obesity and exposure to environmental pollutants. Another necessary approach is education about food. In the video below, TED Prize winner Jamie Oliver talks about the importance of educating about food. He concludes his talk with these words: “My wish is for you to help a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, to inspire families to cook again, and to empower people everywhere to fight obesity” We should all join Jamie Oliver’s...

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