A new study released this week linked BPA and obesity in children. They found that obese children had more BPA in their urine than healthy weight children. While this is concerning I’m not quite sure how this has led to the conclusion that BPA may be causing obesity. It’s my understanding that BPA is akin to fat-soluble vitamins and pesticides in that it accumulates in body fat. Wouldn’t this mean that children with higher levels of body fat would be more likely to store more BPA than children with lower levels of body fat? Couldn’t the obesity be the cause of the higher levels of BPA and not necessarily the reverse? Alternatively, it could simply be that as obese children are consuming more calories than non-obese children they are consuming more BPA from foods. Basically, we can’t even say if there is causation here, let alone in which direction the causation occurs.
I don’t want to diminish the importance of limiting our exposure to potentially toxic chemicals. However, I think we need to stop trying to find one magical cause of obesity. There is not going to be just one cause of obesity. It’s possible that BPA may be a contributing factor but if we banned BPA from everything right now I’m willing to bet obesity rates would not change. Much more needs to change before we’re going to see obesity rates decline.