Study: Pollution linked to higher BMI in toddlers

January 23, 2009

Certain chemicals that children are exposed to in their first three months of life could cause increased body mass index (BMI), according to a new study.

Certain chemicals that children are exposed to in their first three months of life could cause increased body mass index (BMI), according to a new study published in Environmental Health Perspectives.

The study looked at 138 mother-infant pairs from Flanders, Belgium born between 2002 and 2004, ranked into three regions: rural, urban, and industrial. Children with higher exposure levels to polychlorinated biphenols (PCBs) were linked to higher BMI levels. In addition higher PCB level combined with maternal smoking showed a statistically significant combined effect.

The study only followed the children for their first three years of life, and did not take into account maternal weight during or after pregnancy, which has also been linked to increased child BMI in early years.