Environmental contaminants and weight management.
Much has been written about the impact of our surroundings and environmental issues on weight management. Now a new study has found lifestyle intervention may even help weight management when it is in part due to contaminants. Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are associated with increases in weight, but a study has found exercise and diet may, against the odds, reduce the obesogenic effects of these environmental contaminants.
PFASs are a group of synthetic chemicals that are detected in over 95% of the U.S. population. These substances have been used in nonstick cookware, oil- and water-resistant textiles, greaseproof food packaging, personal care products, floor polish, and firefighting foams and as industrial surfactants among other applications. Exposure to PFASs occurs through direct and indirect sources including contaminated drinking water and food, personal care products, soil, dust, and air.
The study researched how much PFASs are associated with increases in weight and body size and to assess whether exercise and diet makes a difference. The prospective cohort study of just under 1000 people included individuals who participated in the US Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study and were followed for approximately 15 years. Some participants chosen at random took part in a lifestyle intervention group, receiving training in diet, physical activity, and behaviour modification. Others in the placebo group were given standard information about diet and exercise. Among adults at high risk for diabetes, among the placebo group, higher plasma PFAS concentrations were associated with a prospective and long-term increase in weight and hip girth. This was NOT the case for those in the lifestyle intervention group.
The results suggest that lifestyle changes of exercise and diet can even help in reducing the obesogenic effects of environmental exposures that we may not even be aware of. More reasons to eat smarter and exercise daily!
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