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14 March 2012

Environmental pollutant linked with overweight

The levels of the environmental pollutant perfluoro-octanoic acid (PFOA) that mothers had in their blood during pregnancy increased the risk of obesity in their daughters.

The levels of the environmental pollutant perfluoro-octanoic acid (PFOA) that mothers had in their blood during pregnancy increased the risk of obesity in their daughters at 20 years of age. The findings come from a recent study of Danish women in which the Norwegian Institute of Public Health participated.

  • Daughters of mothers with the highest concentrations of PFOA in the blood during pregnancy were three times as likely to be overweight at the age of about 20 years as daughters of mothers with the lowest PFOA levels.
  • The calculations took into account many variables, such as maternal weight and lifestyle factors.
  • An association was also found between PFOA exposure before birth and elevated levels of insulin and leptin, two hormones that are linked to obesity.
  • Levels of insulin and leptin were also elevated in the sons of mothers with high PFOA, but the relationship was weaker than for girls.
  • There was no increased risk of development of obesity among the sons.

What this means for us

 
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