Background: Increasing prevalence of childhood obesity has been seen in the United States and other parts of the world. Environmental chemical exposures might play a role in the worldwide obesity epidemic.
Objective: This study was conducted to assess the association of exposure to environmental pesticides with childhood obesity.
Methods: A total of 6770 subjects aged 6-19 years were selected from the 2003-2004 and 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Exposure to environmental pesticides was determined based on the concentrations of pesticide residues in urine. Multivariate logistic regression was performed using SAS 9.1.3 to assess the association between pesticide levels in urine and childhood obesity with the adjustment of potential confounders, including age, gender, race, income, and total fat intake.
Results: A dose-dependent increase in prevalence of obesity was observed in the groups with inter-quartile urinary concentrations of 2,5-dichlorophenol (2,5-DCP). Logistic regression revealed a significant association between adjusted third (Q3) (AOR: 1.47; 95% CI: 1.09, 1.97) and fourth (Q4) (AOR: 1.44; 95% CI: 1.06, 1.95) inter-quartile urinary 2,5-DCP levels and childhood obesity. However, urinary concentrations of 2,4-dichlorophenol were not shown to be significantly associated with childhood obesity.
Conclusion: This study suggests a possible relationship between exposure to 2,5-DCP and obesity in children.