What does this have to do with obesity? Maybe a lot. There is growing evidence that exposure to these chemicals could influence the body to store more fat. Nicholas Kristoff of the New York Times recently reported on this in his column ("Warnings From a Flabby Mouse"). The most recent alarming result was in mice, where even a short exposure at birth led to fatter mice, even when the mice were fed the same amount of food. Kristoff reports, "The role of these chemicals has been acknowledged by the presidential task force on childhood obesity, and the National Institutes of Health has become a major funder of research on links between endocrine disruptors and both obesity and diabetes." Also, apparently, (just like the tobacco and sugar industries), the makers of these chemicals have been doing their darndest to prevent good research from being done in this area.
This also brings focus to another debate in the obesity research community -- is the obesity epidemic a result of a problem of over-consumption (i.e. something is making us hungrier; there's a defect in the appetite system) or a result of a problem of a defect in fat accumulation (more fat leads us to eat more to support our larger bodies). This research seems to lean towards the latter.
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