(HealthDay News) – Children and adolescents in the United States with elevated levels of urinary bisphenol A (BPA), a ubiquitous breakdown product of coatings used in food and beverage containers, are about twice as likely to be obese, according to a study published in the Sept 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, a theme issue on obesity.

Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP, from the New York University School of Medicine in New York City, and colleagues examined the association between urinary BPA levels and obesity, as assessed by body mass index (BMI), in 2,838 children and adolescents (6–9 years old) in the United States from 2003–2008.

The researchers found that the median urinary BPA level was 2.8ng/mL, 34.1% were overweight (BMI ≥85th percentile), and 17.8% were obese (BMI ≥95th percentile). After controlling for a number of factors, BPA levels were associated with obesity, with an obesity prevalence of 10.3% for the lowest BPA quartile and 22.3% for the highest quartile. The odds ratios for obesity were 2.22, 2.09, and 2.53 for the second, third, and fourth quartiles, respectively. In stratified analysis, the association was significant only in whites. No association was observed between obesity and exposure to other common environmental phenols used in sunscreens and soaps.

“Urinary BPA concentration was significantly associated with obesity in this cross-sectional study of children and adolescents,” Trasande and colleagues conclude.

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