Increasing prevalence of childhood obesity poses threats to the global health burden. Because this rising prevalence cannot be fully explained by traditional risk factors such as unhealthy diet and physical inactivity, early-life exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) is recognized as emerging novel risk factors for childhood obesity. EDCs can disrupt the hormone-mediated metabolic pathways, affect children's growth and mediate the development of childhood obesity. Many organic pollutants are recently classified to be EDCs. In this review, we summarized the epidemiological and laboratory evidence related to EDCs and childhood obesity, and discussed the possible mechanisms underpinning childhood obesity and early-life exposure to non-persistent organic pollutants (phthalates, bisphenol A, triclosan) and persistent organic pollutants (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, polychlorinated biphenyls, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances). Understanding the relationship between EDCs and childhood obesity helps to raise public awareness and formulate public health policy to protect the youth from exposure to the harmful effects of EDCs.
Keywords: Childhood obesity; Early-life exposure; Persistent organic pollutants; Endocrine disrupting chemicals.