Exposure to toxins during pregnancy linked to obesity in elementary school children

A new study has shown that pregnant women's exposure to toxic chemicals that are found everywhere – in the air, food, water, soil – can create serious health problems in children 6-11 years old.

Exposure to toxins during pregnancy linked to childhood obesity in elementary school 4536

Scientists examined the health of children whose mothers were exposed to four families of endocrine-disrupting chemicals body systems. Over time, these children had elevated levels of metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is a metabolic disorder associated with obesity, high blood pressure, abnormally high cholesterol levels, and insulin resistance. 

The study's first author, Nuria Gul-Umrait, explained that in the group of children most exposed to chemicals, 62% were overweight or obese, compared with 16% of children in the low-risk group. “Moreover, blood levels of insulin and triglycerides, as well as systolic and diastolic blood pressure, were significantly higher in the high-risk group than in the low-risk group,” Guil-Umrait explained.

Metabolic syndrome is usually associated with adult cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke, but the growing epidemic of childhood obesity is causing symptoms to appear in children at ever younger ages. Experts say that having metabolic syndrome in childhood is a good predictor of developing chronic diseases in adulthood.