The chemical, found in plastic and cans, mimics estrogen. Researchers think it may accelerate the onset of puberty.
(Image source: PBS ) BY BRIANA ALTERGOTT Poor eating habits and lack of exercise might not be the only factors contributing to the obesity epidemic, according to new research. Researchers believe BPA, otherwise known as bisphenol-a, could be linked to obesity in young girls. The chemical can be found in plastic and in cans. (Via KYW ) A study conducted in China looked at 1,326 school-aged children and measured BPA levels in their urine. Researchers found in girls ages 9 to 12, higher BPA urine levels were associated with a doubled risk of obesity. (Via WRC-TV ) Surprisingly, boys in this age group didn’t seem to be affected by the chemical. The lead study author told CNN , “Girls seem to be more sensitive to environmental impact, and we don’t know exactly why.” But researchers do know BPA mimics estrogen, the main hormone involved in female development. And when BPA acts like estrogen in young girls, it may accelerate the onset of puberty and cause weight gain. BPA exposure is pretty much unavoidable though. According to the CDC , nearly everyone in the U.S. over the age of six has traceable amounts of BPA in their urine. But there are ways you can limit your exposure. Doctors recommend avoiding canned foods, choosing products that are BPA-free, and using glass containers, especially in the microwave. (Via KEYC )