Associations between Exposure to Persistent Organic Pollutants in Childhood and Overweight up to 12 Years Later in a Low Exposed Danish Population

Jeanett L Tang-Péronard, Tina K Jensen, Helle R Andersen, Mathias Ried-Larsen, Anders Grøntved, Lars B Andersen, Clara A G Timmermann, Flemming Nielsen, Berit L Heitmann

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) have metabolic disrupting abilities and are suggested to contribute to the obesity epidemic. We investigated whether serum concentrations of POPs at 8-10 years of age were associated with subsequent development of overweight at age 14-16 and 20-22 years.

METHODS: The study was based on data from the European Youth Heart Study, Danish component (1997). Concentrations of several polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and the organochlorine pesticides p,p-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) and hexachlorobenzene (HCB) were measured in serum from children aged 8-10 years (n = 509). Information on BMI z-scores, waist circumference and % body fat were collected at clinical examinations at ages 8-10, 14-16 and 20-22 years. Multiple linear regression analyses were performed taking potential confounders into account.

RESULTS: Overall, POP serum concentrations were low: median ΣPCB 0.18 µg/g lipid, DDE 0.04 µg/g lipid and HCB 0.03 µg/g lipid. POPs were generally not associated with weight gain at 14-16 and 20-22 years of age, except for an inverse association among the highest exposed girls at 20-22 years of age, which might possibly be explained by multiple testing or residual confounding.

CONCLUSION: This study suggests that, in a low exposed population, childhood serum concentrations of PCB, DDE, and HCB are not associated with subsequent weight gain. © 2015 S. Karger GmbH, Freiburg.

Original languageEnglish
JournalObesity Facts
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)282-292
Publication statusPublished - 1. Sept 2015


  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • PCBs
  • POPs
  • Environmental Pollutants/adverse effects
  • Organic Chemicals/adverse effects
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls/adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Obesity/chemically induced
  • Male
  • Overweight/chemically induced
  • Hexachlorobenzene/adverse effects
  • Young Adult
  • Dichlorodiphenyl Dichloroethylene/adverse effects
  • Adolescent
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated/adverse effects
  • Denmark
  • Female
  • Child
  • Longitudinal Studies


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