An Examination of the Association of Selected Toxic Metals with Total and Central Obesity Indices: NHANES 99-02

Department of Psychology, Old Dominion University, 250 Mills Godwin Building, Norfolk, VA 23529, USA.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (Impact Factor: 2.06). 09/2010; 7(9):3332-47. DOI: 10.3390/ijerph7093332
Source: PubMed


It is conceivable that toxic metals contribute to obesity by influencing various aspects of metabolism, such as by substituting for essential micronutrients and vital metals, or by inducing oxidative stress. Deficiency of the essential metal zinc decreases adiposity in humans and rodent models, whereas deficiencies of chromium, copper, iron, and magnesium increases adiposity. This study utilized the NHANES 99-02 data to explore the association between waist circumference and body mass index with the body burdens of selected toxic metals (barium, cadmium, cobalt, cesium, molybdenum, lead, antimony, thallium, and tungsten). Some of the associations were significant direct relationships (barium and thallium), and some of the associations were significant inverse relationships (cadmium, cobalt, cesium, and lead). Molybdenum, antimony, and tungsten had mostly insignificant associations with waist circumference and body mass index. This is novel result for most of the toxic metals studied, and a surprising result for lead because high stored lead levels have been shown to correlate with higher rates of diabetes, and obesity may be a key risk factor for developing diabetes. These associations suggest the possibility that environmental exposure to metals may contribute to variations in human weight gain/loss. Future research, such as prospective studies rather than the cross-sectional studies presented here, is warranted to confirm these findings.

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    • "Human studies of the association of Pb exposure with weight status are conflicting. Bone measures of chronic Pb exposure have been both positively and negatively correlated with BMI at different ages, but findings may be related to differences in cross-sectional and longitudinal study designs [10], [11]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Developmental lead (Pb) exposure has been associated with lower body weight in human infants and late onset obesity in mice. We determined the association of perinatal Pb exposure in mice with changes in obesity-related phenotypes into adulthood. Mice underwent exposure via maternal drinking water supplemented with 0 (control), 2.1 (low), 16 (medium), or 32 (high) ppm Pb-acetate two weeks prior to mating through lactation. Offspring were phenotyped at ages 3, 6, and 9 months for energy expenditure, spontaneous activity, food intake, body weight, body composition, and at age 10 months for glucose tolerance. Data analyses were stratified by sex and adjusted for litter effects. Exposed females and males exhibited increased energy expenditure as compared to controls (p<0.0001 for both). In females, horizontal activity differed significantly from controls (p = 0.02) over the life-course. Overall, food intake increased in exposed females and males (p<0.0008 and p<0.0001, respectively) with significant linear trends at 9 months in females (p = 0.01) and 6 months in males (p<0.01). Body weight was significantly increased in males at the medium and high exposures (p = 0.001 and p = 0.006). Total body fat differed among exposed females and males (p<0.0001 and p<0.0001, respectively). Insulin response was significantly increased in medium exposure males (p<0.05). Perinatal Pb exposure at blood lead levels between 4.1 µg/dL and 32 µg/dL is associated with increased food intake, body weight, total body fat, energy expenditure, activity, and insulin response in mice. Physiological effects of developmental Pb exposure persist and vary according to sex and age.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    • "Kim et al. (1995) reported a weak but statistically significant positive association between childhood lead levels in teeth and BMI, whereas other studies did not or found an inverse association (Little et al., 2009). An inverse association between BMI and lead was also reported in adults (Padilla et al., 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: Lead exposure is associated with low birth-weight. The objective of this study is to determine whether lead exposure is associated with lower body weight in children, adolescents and adults. We analyzed data from NHANES 1999-2006 for participants aged ≥3 using multiple logistic and multivariate linear regression. Using age- and sex-standardized BMI Z-scores, overweight and obese children (ages 3-19) were classified by BMI ≥85th and ≥95th percentiles, respectively. The adult population (age ≥20) was classified as overweight and obese with BMI measures of 25-29.9 and ≥30, respectively. Blood lead level (BLL) was categorized by weighted quartiles. Multivariate linear regressions revealed a lower BMI Z-score in children and adolescents when the highest lead quartile was compared to the lowest lead quartile (β (SE)=-0.33 (0.07), p<0.001), and a decreased BMI in adults (β (SE)=-2.58 (0.25), p<0.001). Multiple logistic analyses in children and adolescents found a negative association between BLL and the percentage of obese and overweight with BLL in the highest quartile compared to the lowest quartile (OR=0.42, 95% CI: 0.30-0.59; and OR=0.67, 95% CI: 0.52-0.88, respectively). Adults in the highest lead quartile were less likely to be obese (OR=0.42, 95% CI: 0.35-0.50) compared to those in the lowest lead quartile. Further analyses with blood lead as restricted cubic splines, confirmed the dose-relationship between blood lead and body weight outcomes. BLLs are associated with lower body mass index and obesity in children, adolescents and adults.
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    • "As far as BMI is concerned, several reports have shown an association between serum zinc and copper levels and BMI [50]. Studies of Padilla et al. [43] suggest that the association of some heavy metals (like cadmium or cobalt) with BMI remains unclear. For example, according to the authors of the cited study, cadmium and cobalt were negatively associated with BMI. "
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    ABSTRACT: High-performance ion chromatography and inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry methods have been applied to estimate the content of Cd, Co, Cu, Fe, Mn, Zn, and Ni in whole blood, plasma, and urine of obese and nonobese children. The study was conducted on a group of 81 Polish children of age 6-17 years (37 males, 44 females). Obese children were defined as those with body mass index (BMI) >95th percentile in each age-gender-specific group. Statistical testing was done by the use of nonparametric tests (Kruskal-Wallis's and Mann-Whitney's U) and Spearman's correlation coefficient. Significant correlations appeared for control group in plasma (Mn-Cd, Ni-Co), urine (Cu-Co), and blood (Fe-Cu), while for obese patients in plasma (Cd-Mn, Ni-Cu, Ni-Zn) and urine (Fe-Cd, Co-Mn). Sex criteria did not influence correlations between metals' content in plasma and urine of obese patients. Metals' abundance was correlated in non-corresponding combinations of body fluids. Rare significant differences between content of metals according to sex and the type of body fluids were discovered: Zn in plasma from obese patients of both sexes, and Zn, Co, and Mn in blood, Mn in plasma from healthy subjects. Negative correlations between BMI and Zn in blood, Cu in plasma, and Fe in urine were discovered for girls (control group). Positive correlation between Co content in plasma and BMI was discovered for obese boys. The changes in metals' content in body fluids may be indicators of obesity. Content of zinc, copper, and cobalt should be monitored in children with elevated BMI to avoid deficiency problems.
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