Endocrine-disrupting chemicals and obesity risk: A review of recommendations for obesity prevention policies

Obes Rev. 2021 Nov;22(11):e13332. doi: 10.1111/obr.13332. Epub 2021 Aug 18.


Emerging evidence indicates that industrially produced endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) may be as obesogenic as poor dietary patterns and should be considered in obesity prevention policies. The authors conducted two reviews: (a) a systematic search of four electronic databases for papers published since January 2010 to identify the policy recommendations contained in scientific reviews of EDC exposure and obesity risk and (b) a narrative review of obesity policy documents published since January 2012 to identify the recommendations of national and international agencies. A search of four electronic databases found 63 scientific reviews with policy recommendations, of which 26 suggested individual responsibility to avoid exposure, 11 suggested medical interventions to counter the effects of exposure, and 42 suggested regulatory control of hazardous chemicals. Of sixty policy documents examined, six mentioned pollutants as a possible risk factor for obesity, and only one made explicit reference to strategies for reducing exposure to EDCs. The UN Sustainable Development Goals include targets to prevent ill health from hazardous chemicals (Targets 3.9 and 12.4) and to remove unsafe industrial chemicals from the environment (Targets 6.3, 11.6, 12.4, and 14.1). The authors suggest these should be explicitly linked to World Health Assembly targets to halt the rise in obesity.

Keywords: endocrine disruptors; individual responsibility; obesogens; policy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Endocrine Disruptors* / adverse effects
  • Environmental Pollutants*
  • Humans
  • Obesity / chemically induced
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Policy


  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Environmental Pollutants