Persistent Organic Pollutants as Risk Factors for Obesity and Diabetes

Curr Diab Rep. 2017 Nov 2;17(12):132. doi: 10.1007/s11892-017-0966-0.


Purpose of review: The rising prevalence of obesity and diabetes cannot be fully explained by known risk factors, such as unhealthy diet, a sedentary lifestyle, and family history. This review summarizes the available studies linking persistent organic pollutants (POPs) to obesity and diabetes and discusses plausible underlying mechanisms.

Recent findings: Increasing evidence suggest that POPs may act as obesogens and diabetogens to promote the development of obesity and diabetes and induce metabolic dysfunction. POPs are synthesized chemicals and are used widely in our daily life. These chemicals are resistant to degradation in chemical or biological processes, which enable them to exist in the environment persistently and to be bio-accumulated in animal and human tissue through the food chain. Increasingly, epidemiologic studies suggest a positive association between POPs and risk of developing diabetes. Understanding the relationship of POPs with obesity and diabetes may shed light on preventive strategies for obesity and diabetes.

Keywords: diabetes; metabolic diseases; obesity; persistent organic pollutants.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus / chemically induced*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology*
  • Environmental Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Obesity / chemically induced*
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Organic Chemicals / adverse effects*
  • Risk Factors


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Organic Chemicals