The National Academies Press (NAP) has published a report summarizing a March 2015 workshop held by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on The Interplay Between Environmental Chemical Exposures and Obesity. The report summarizes both animal model and human epidemiological studies allegedly linking exposure to environmental chemicals “to weight gain and to glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity, inflammation, and other aspects of the metabolic syndrome.” It also examines the “possible biological pathways and mechanisms underlying the potential linkages.”

Noting the purported efforts of so-called endocrine disruptors during prenatal and early childhood development, the report focuses on the increase in chemical production alongside obesity rates and raises questions about the metabolic effects of various substances such as “organophosphates and carbamates; polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); polybrominated biphenyls and fire retardants; heavy metals; solvents; and plastics, such as phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA).” In addition, the report addresses the potential role of infectious diseases and treatments, including antibiotics, in childhood obesity.

Additional details about the workshop appear in Issue 555 of this Update.