Phthalates found in obese children

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NEW YORK (UPI) — A U.S. study suggests endocrine disruptors such as phthalates may play a role in childhood obesity, the Mount Sinai School of Medicine said.

Researchers found children in New York’s East Harlem are three times more likely than other children in the United States to be overweight.
The study determined neighborhood characteristics — including availability of convenience foods — likely play a strong role in the number of obese children. Eighty percent of the children in the study reported purchasing food items from convenience stores at least one time per week, the hospital said in a report released Thursday.

High levels of phthalates and Bisphenol A found in the children’s urine may play a role in obesity by disrupting hormones that regulate growth and development, researchers said. Higher levels of three endocrine disruptors — 2,5 DCP, MBP and MEHHP — were also found.
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The levels of DCP, formed in the body from the chemical DCB, were three to 10 times higher than those found in a national sample of children the same age, the report said. The chemical is common in mothballs, room deodorizers and toilet bowl deodorizer cakes.

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 22nd April 2009

Factors other than genes may cause obesity

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (UPI) — Purdue University scientists say factors other than genetics may be involved in the development of obesity.

The researchers said they have uncovered evidence that genetically identical cells store widely differing amounts of fat, depending on subtle variations in how the cells process insulin. They said identifying the precise mechanism responsible for fat storage in cells could lead to methods for controlling obesity in humans.

“Insights from our study also will be important for understanding the precise roles of insulin in obesity or Type II diabetes and to the design of effective intervention strategies,” said Assistant Professor Ji-Xin Cheng, who said the findings indicate the faster a cell processes insulin, the more fat it stores.

Although other studies have suggested certain “fat genes” might be associated with excessive fat storage in cells, the Purdue researchers confirmed such genes are expressed, or activated, in all of the cells. Yet those cells varied drastically — from nearly zero in some cases to pervasive in others — in how much fat they stored.

The study is reported in the online journal PLoS One.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 20th April 2009