Most health experts agree that we are what we eat. But as to this new study, we are what we breathe. Childhood obesity is often linked with poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle. But this new study explains that in-house pollution is also a factor which could cause obesity in growing kids.
An international collaborative project investigated the exposure to inhouse pollutants on growing kids. These pollutants included particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide along some heavy metals.
The complete findings of this study are published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives today.
This study is the first one that finds the environmental factors of obesity. The findings of this study highlight the previous evidence that air pollution or smoking could affect pregnancy and obesity. Thus this new model helps to understand the inhouse exposure to certain allergens and their possible outcomes i.e. childhood obesity.
Obesity is a leading health problem, not only in the USA but all around the world. Adults, teens, and children everyone is falling a victim to obesity. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms that obese kids are at a high risk of certain diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart problems, and cancer too.
The two most important factors in obesity, in general, are diet and lifestyle. And these two contribute to most cases of childhood obesity. There is plenty of research data that shows that contaminants inside the plastic, cosmetics, pesticides, and many other common things can interact with a growing fetus.
This risk doesn’t end after the pregnancy in fact it increases when a child is in growing age.
this study named HELIX (Human Early-Life Exposome) project is an attempt to understand obesity factors in children (age range- 6-11 years) from different countries. 1300 children from 6 countries were observed in this project. Nearly 1/3rd of these participants were over a healthy weight.
The research team agreed to traffic noise, solar radiation, pesticide chemicals, and disinfectants in the house as a part of exposure. But they share that these are only and there are so many others that could also play a role in obesity in children.
During this period, when coronavirus pandemic is restricting people to stay at home, this risk of obesity is a big concern. Especially for low-income families, exposure to nitrogen dioxide could be the biggest risk in obesity.
This is no different as to localities. Both urban and rural population has a high tendency of developing higher BMI values, especially during this lockdown period.
The aim of this study was to shortlist the chemicals causing inhouse pollution that are behind these obesity trends. Many of them are not studied begore which is why the researchers were more eager to find them.
During this analysis, the researchers came across another unusual finding. They were able to identify some heavy metals such as copper and cesium inside obese children’s blood.
Martine Vrijheid, from the Institute for Global Health, Barcelona is the first author of this HELIX project’s findings. He says that we are only able to find a few exposures and there are thousands of others that we still don’t know. This project doesn’t end here and there is a lot much that needs an investigation.
The study stresses that it is necessary to understand the inhouse exposure and the risk for children’s health. If ignored, nearly half of the American population would be overweight in the next ten years.