New research presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Geneva found that mice that were exposed during early development to chemicals used in products such as plastic food containers typically became fat later in life.
According to a Yahoo News story, one study showed that female mice whose mothers were exposed to bisphenol A grew up into fat mice. Bisphenol A is a chemical commonly used in plastic bottles and food containers and has recently been the subject of some controversy.
The article says another study found that pregnant mice exposed to the chemical perfluorooctanoic acid, which is used as a grease-proofing agent in products such as microwave popcorn bags, had mice that were unusually small at birth but then became overweight as adults.
And a third study found that when pregnant mice were given doses of tributylin, a chemical used in plastic food wrap and as a fungicide, a genetic program would be triggered in their offspring, causing them to become fat as adults. The article says the doses were comparable to what is seen in humans.
Researchers suggested early exposure to these chemicals could mean a lifetime fighting obesity. Bruce Blumberg from the University of California at Irvine, who conducted the tributylin research, is quoted in the article: "Developmental exposure is probably more serious than adult exposure because the data with other such exposures suggest that the pro-obesity reprogramming is irreversible, which means you will spend your life fighting weight gain."
But what we're feeding babies might still add to the problem. The New York Times reported today on Similac Organic baby formula.
Moms might choose to buy the organic formula because they believe it is healthier for their babies. What they might not have intended to purchase was the high sugar content present in this formula.
The article says Similac Organic is much sweeter than other formulas because it is the only major brand of organic formula that is sweetened with cane sugar or sucrose.
The Times stresses that no health problems in babies have been associated with Similac Organic. However pediatricians might warn of the following risks in giving babies cane sugar: Sucrose can harm tooth enamel faster than other sugars; once babies get used to its sweeter taste, they might resist less sweet formulas or solid foods; and some studies suggest that they might overeat, leading to rapid weight gain in the first year, which is often a statistical predictor of childhood obesity.
According to Yahoo, the World Health Organization has estimated that over 700 million people will be obese by 2015.
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