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Hidden triggers of weight gain – chicagotribune.com

September 30, 2012

Obesity, it turns out, is a complex condition that involves multiple genes and pathways. Scientists are finding that certain exposures or conditions can change the body’s metabolism, disrupt the trillions of microbes working in the gut and alter hormonal levels in ways that affect a person’s weight.

Studies have identified nearly a dozen factors besides overeating and inactivity that can help make people fat, including chemicals in the environment. A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that children and teens with higher levels of the chemical bisphenol A in their urine were more likely to be overweight or obese than others. It’s next to impossible to avoid BPA, which is used to make shatterproof plastics and resins and is found in some food packaging, toys, cash register receipts and thousands of other products.

“It’s an epidemic of 1,000 paper cuts,” said Andrew Rundle, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, whose research explores environmental triggers of obesity. “For some people, appeals to personal responsibility will work. For others, we have to think about all the systemic things going on. I don’t discount personal choice and responsibility. It’s just way more complicated than that.”

via Hidden triggers of weight gain – chicagotribune.com.

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