Being overweight is often attributed to eating too much and moving too little.
But a new study claims that pollution may be another factor contributing to the growing obesity epidemic.
The study by scientists at Barcelona's Municipal Institute of Medical Research shows that exposure to a range of common chemicals in the womb can predispose children to get fat, according to The Independent.
The researchers measured levels of the pesticide hexachlorobenzene (HCB) in the umbilical cords of 403 children born on the Spanish island of Menorca, starting from before birth, according to the article. The results showed that children with the highest levels of the chemical were twice as likely to be obese by the age of six and a half.
HCB has been banned internationally since the children were born, according to the paper, but it is a persistent chemical that remains in the environment and makes its way into the food chain.
The Independent mentions that animal experiments with other chemicals have shown similar results, including organotins, used in antifouling paints on ships and now widely found in fish; bisphenol A (BPA), used in baby bottles and in linings of food cans; and phthalates, found in cosmetics, shampoos, plastic wrap, and in many other products.
The article says these chemicals are called "obesogens" due to the findings, and that almost everyone now has them in their bodies.
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