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Obesity in Children: Are Chemicals to Blame? (page 2)

Obesity in Children: Are Chemicals to Blame?

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Updated on Jun 15, 2012

So what can you do to protect yourself and your child both before birth and after? The first step is raising your awareness of the substances that surround you. You can also follow these sensible steps.

  • Fresh Food. Eat fresh and unprocessed food, advises Dr. Blumberg. Because we don't know what specific chemicals cause our cells to morph into fat cells, it's best to avoid as many artificial ingredients as possible. Fresh veggies, fruits, legumes and whole grains are perfect for pregnant and nursing mamas, since chemicals may be transmitted through breast milk. Feed your baby unprocessed, whole food—such as puréed sweet potatoes or soft avocado—when she starts solids.
  • Paper or Plastic? Minimize plastic in your life, especially for food consumption. Avoid water bottles and plastic food storage containers, as they're a major source of BPA. Drink out of a glasses, and look for BPA-free bottles for your little one. Store leftovers in glass or metal containers.
  • Protect Against Pesticides. Eating low on the food chain while pregnant and nursing can help protect against pesticides in your food. Persistent pesticides like DDT/DDE are "bio-magnified" in food products—meaning that if the chemical is present in small amounts in a plant food and the plant is eaten by an animal, the chemical gets concentrated and you ingest more of it. So skip copious amounts of animal products, and substiute with lots of fruits, vegetables and grains—preferably organic.
  • Smoke and Pollution. You know not to smoke while pregnant, but you should also avoid places where you are exposed to second-hand smoke. Be aware of the air quality both inside and outside of your home.
  • Hormone Havoc. Avoid drugs and pharmaceuticals that contain synthetic estrogens that might cause hormone disruption. Messing with your hormonal profile while pregnant or nursing could impact your infant's weight.

Above all, don't panic. Chemicals are everywhere in our modern world, and you can't raise your child in a bubble. Obesogens are only one piece of the puzzle of childhood obesity. Be sensible and continue eating healthy foods and limiting sugar intake for yourself and your child. In addition, be a smart mom and mom-to-be and minimize your chemical exposure for a happy and healthy baby.

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