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Your Environment. Your Health.

BPA Linked with Obesity in Children

Karen Peterson, D.Sc.
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
NIEHS Grant P20ES018171

NIEHS-funded research found that higher levels of urinary bisphenol A (BPA) were associated with an increased risk for obesity in children participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2003 to 2010. The investigators did not find significant associations of BPA with any other chronic disease risk factors.

Children were classified into quartiles based on their urinary BPA levels (quartiles 1 to 4 = <1.3, 1.3-2.6, 2.6-4.9, and >4.9 nanograms/milliliter). The children with higher levels of BPA showed increased odds for obesity. Specifically, for quartiles 2 vs. 1, the odds ratio (OR) was 1.74, 95 percent confidence interval (CI) 1.17-2.60, P = .008; for quartiles 3 vs. 1, OR was 1.64, 95 percent and CI 1.09-2.47, P = .02; and for quartiles 4 vs. 1, OR was 2.01, 95 percent CI 1.36-2.98, P = .001. The same was true for having an abnormal waist circumference-to-height ratio: quartiles 2 vs. 1, OR 1.37, 95 percent CI 0.98-1.93, P = .07; quartiles 3 vs. 1, OR 1.41, 95 percent CI 1.07-1.87, P = .02; and quartiles 4 vs. 1, OR 1.55, 95 percent CI 1.12-2.15, P = .01. The researchers say that longitudinal analyses are needed to better understand the temporal relationships between BPA exposure and the development of obesity and chronic disease risk factors in children.

Citation: Eng DS, Lee JM, Gebremariam A, Meeker JD, Peterson K, Padmanabhan V. 2013. Bisphenol a and chronic disease risk factors in U.S. children. Pediatrics 132(3):e637-e645.