Drinking from plastic bottles while pregnant may lead to child obesity – US scientists
A new study has linked drinking from a plastic bottle during pregnancy with child obesity, stating that it could be triggered by the endocrine-disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA).
BPA is used in plastics and resins and is found in a variety of food containers. It is also a component in metal can coatings, which protect the food from directly contacting metal surfaces. Although it hasn’t been comprehensively proven that BPA poses a direct health risk, it has been closely studied since 2008 over safety concerns.
It is known that small amounts of packaging materials may transfer into food when the two come into contact.
A recent study carried out on mice by the Endocrine Society, based in Washington DC, revealed that baby mice born to mothers exposed to BPA were less responsive to the hormone leptin.
Leptin is essential to feeling full, as it helps inhibit the appetite by reducing hunger pangs when the body does not need energy.
“BPA exposure permanently alters the neurobiology in the affected mice, making them prone to obesity as adults,” the study’s senior author, Alfonso Abizaid, said.
Researchers also found that mice exposed to BPA before birth had reduced fiber density and brain activity involved in regulating energy expenditure and the amount of calories needed to function.
“Since BPA has also been linked to obesity in humans, people need to be aware that environmental factors can lead to increased susceptibility to obesity and cardio-metabolic disorders,” Abizaid warned.
In 2012 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the use of BPA in baby bottles and ‘sippy cups’ as well as the use of epoxy resins in infant formula packaging.
Research in 2011 led by Joe Braun from the Harvard School of Public Health linked early exposure to BPA to higher levels of anxiety and aggression in girls by age three.