Background: Recent experimental evidence suggests that prenatal exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) may increase postnatal obesity risk and that these effects may be sex or diet dependent.
Objectives: We explored whether prenatal organochlorine compound (OC) concentrations [polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE), and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT)] were associated with overweight at 6.5 years of age and whether child sex or fat intakes modified these associations.
Methods: We studied 344 children from a Spanish birth cohort established in 1997-1998. Overweight at 6.5 years was defined as a body mass index (BMI) z-score ≥ 85th percentile of the World Health Organization reference. Cord blood OC concentrations were measured and treated as categorical variables (tertiles). Children's diet was assessed by food frequency questionnaire. Relative risks (RRs) were estimated using generalized linear models.
Results: After multivariable adjustment, we found an increased RR of overweight in the third tertile of PCB exposure [RR = 1.70; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.09, 2.64] and the second tertile of DDE exposure (RR = 1.67; 95% CI: 1.10, 2.55), but no association with DDT exposure in the population overall. Associations between overweight and PCB and DDE concentrations were strongest in girls (p-interaction between 0.01 and 0.28); DDT was associated with overweight only in boys. For DDT we observed stronger associations in children with fat intakes at or above compared with below the median, but this interaction was not significant (p-interaction > 0.05).
Conclusions: This study suggests that prenatal OC exposures may be associated with overweight in children and that sex and high-fat intake may influence susceptibility.