Early-life exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals associates with childhood obesity

  • Yang, Chunxue (State Key Laboratory of Environmental and Biological Analysis, Department of Chemistry, Hong Kong Baptist University) ;
  • Lee, Hin Kiu (State Key Laboratory of Environmental and Biological Analysis, Department of Chemistry, Hong Kong Baptist University) ;
  • Kong, Alice Pik Shan (Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital) ;
  • Lim, Lee Ling (Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital) ;
  • Cai, Zongwei (State Key Laboratory of Environmental and Biological Analysis, Department of Chemistry, Hong Kong Baptist University) ;
  • Chung, Arthur C.K. (State Key Laboratory of Environmental and Biological Analysis, Department of Chemistry, Hong Kong Baptist University)
  • Received : 2018.11.24
  • Accepted : 2018.12.18
  • Published : 2018.12.30


Increasing prevalence of childhood obesity poses threats to the global health burden. Because this rising prevalence cannot be fully explained by traditional risk factors such as unhealthy diet and physical inactivity, early-life exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) is recognized as emerging novel risk factors for childhood obesity. EDCs can disrupt the hormone-mediated metabolic pathways, affect children's growth and mediate the development of childhood obesity. Many organic pollutants are recently classified to be EDCs. In this review, we summarized the epidemiological and laboratory evidence related to EDCs and childhood obesity, and discussed the possible mechanisms underpinning childhood obesity and early-life exposure to non-persistent organic pollutants (phthalates, bisphenol A, triclosan) and persistent organic pollutants (dichlorodip henyltrichloroethane, polychlorinated biphenyls, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances). Understanding the relationship between EDCs and childhood obesity helps to raise public awareness and formulate public health policy to protect the youth from exposure to the harmful effects of EDCs.



Supported by : National Natural Science Foundation of China, Research Grant Council of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong Health and Medical Research Fund, HKASO


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