Age and Sex Differences in Childhood and Adulthood obesity association with phthalates: Analyses of NHANES 2007-2010

Division of Toxicology and Human Health Sciences, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), Atlanta, Georgia, 30341 USA
International journal of hygiene and environmental health (Impact Factor: 3.83). 07/2014; 217(6). DOI: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2014.02.005


Exposure to environmental chemicals may play a role in the development of obesity. Evidence suggests phthalate exposure may be associated with obesity in children and adults.

To examine the association of ten urinary phthalate metabolites mono-n-butyl phthalate (MnBP), mono-ethyl phthalate (MEP), mono-isobutyl phthalate (MiBP), mono-2-ethyl-5-carboxypentyl phthalate (MECPP), mono-2-ethyl-5-hydroxyhexyl phthalate (MEHHP), mono-(2-ethyl-5-oxohexyl) phthalate (MEOHP), mono-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (MEHP), mono-benzyl phthalate (MBzP), mono-(carboxylnonyl) phthalate (MCNP), and mono-(carboxyoctyl) phthalate (MCOP) grouped by molecular weight of their parent compounds with body weight outcomes in children, adolescent and adult participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2007-2010.

We performed multinomial logistic regression to analyze the association between obesity and urinary phthalate metabolite concentrations in children and adolescents and adults.

Low molecular weight (LMW) phthalate metabolites (MnBP, MEP and MiBP) are significantly (p < 0.05) associated with higher odds for obesity in male children and adolescents. High molecular weight (HMW) phthalate metabolites (MECPP, MEHHP, MEOHP, MEHP, MBzP, MCNP, and MCOP) and di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) metabolites (MEHHP, MEOHP, MEHP and MECPP) are significantly (p < 0.05) associated with higher OR for obesity in all adults. Additionally, DEHP metabolites are significantly associated with obesity in all female adults; whereas DEHP and HMW metabolites are significantly associated with OR for obesity in males 60 years and older.

We found age and sex differences in the association between urinary phthalate metabolite concentrations and body weight outcomes. Reverse causation cannot be excluded since overweight and obese people will have more fat mass, they may store more phthalates, thus leading to higher excretion concentrations.

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Available from: Melanie Buser, Jul 02, 2014
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    • "Although phthalates have been identified to have antiandrogenic effects on the developing male reproductive system (Foster, 2006; Shultz et al., 2001; Wolff et al., 2014), emerging evidence suggests a potential connection with the development of obesity (Desvergne et al., 2009; Grun and Blumberg, 2007; Hatch et al., 2008; Kim and Park, 2014; Newbold et al., 2009; Song et al., 2014; Stahlhut et al., 2007; Teitelbaum et al., 2012 ). Epidemiology studies have revealed a potential association between phthalate exposures such as diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) and the development of obesity (Buser et al., 2014; Hatch et al., 2008; Lind et al., 2012; Stahlhut et al., 2007; Teitelbaum et al., 2012; Trasande et al., 2013). In the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 1999 to 2002, concentrations of four phthalate metabolites, including mono-benzyl phthalate (MBzP), mono-(2-ethyl-5-hydroxyhexyl) phthalate (MEHHP), mono-(2-ethyl-5-oxohexyl) phthalate (MEOHP), and mono-ethyl phthalate (MEP) in men, showed significant correlations with abdominal obesity (Stahlhut et al., 2007 ). "
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