Associations between Obesity, Body Fat Distribution, Weight Loss and Weight Cycling on Serum Pesticide Concentrations

J Food Nutr Disord. 2016;5(3):10.4172/2324-9323.1000198. doi: 10.4172/2324-9323.1000198. Epub 2016 Jun 25.


Objective: Preliminary studies suggest pesticides may be linked to increased cancer risk. Since most pesticides are lipophilic and stored within adipose tissue, serum levels of organochlorines are affected not only by environmental exposures, but also by factors related to lipid turnover and storage. Our objective was to investigate whether serum organochlorines are influenced by weight loss, body fat distribution, and weight cycling.

Methods: Ten overweight women were recruited upon entry into a weight loss program and surveyed regarding weight history, childbearing/lactation, and exposure to environmental contaminants. Anthropometric measures and phlebotomy were conducted at baseline and at four weeks (mean weight loss=5.1 kg). Serum was analyzed for 19 common polychlorinated pesticides and metabolites and 10 PCB congeners.

Results: Organochlorine levels were not significantly affected by weight loss nor associated with body mass index (BMI). Strong positive correlations were noted between levels of DDE/DDT and age (DDE β=0.6986/p=0.0246/DDT β=0.6536/p=0.0404) and between DDE/DDT and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) (DDE β=0.4356/p=0.0447/DDT β=0.8108/p=0.0044). Trends were noted for decreased levels of DDT in women who reported more episodes of weight cycling.

Conclusion: Serum organochlorine levels may be affected not only by age, but also factors related to lipid turnover (i.e., episodes of weight cycling and WHR), and warrants further study.

Keywords: Body fat; Obesity; Organochlorines; Waist hip ratio; Weight cycling; Weight loss.