A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that kids with higher levels of BPA, or bisphenol A, in their bodies may have a higher chance of being obese. However, the researchers from NYU School of Medicine acknowledge that their study’s design doesn’t allow them to definitely conclude that BPA caused the children’s obesity.
The study drew on U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) surveys of 2,838 kids and teens, ages 6–19. Researchers found that more than 22% of those with the highest BPA level in their urine were obese, compared to 10% of those with the lowest levels. To make sure that their results were reliable, authors of the study factored in the children’s race, age, income, sex, exposure to tobacco, number of calories consumed each day, number of hours spent watching TV, and their caregiver’s educational level. The results held up only for Caucasian children, said Leonardo Trasande, the study’s main author, of NYU. In African Americans and Hispanics, further analysis showed that the link between BPA and obesity could be due to chance.
It’s possible that obese children consume more BPA, such as through canned soda, Trasande said. It’s also possible that obese children have higher BPA levels because the chemical is stored, and later released, from fat.