Hormones Implicated in Obesity Epidemic

Thursday, 12 Jun 2014 03:02 PM

By Nick Tate

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An imbalance of female sex hormones and chemicals that mimic their effects in the body may be contributing to high levels of male obesity in men, according to new research from the University of Adelaide.

In a study published in the Public Library of Science journal PLOS ONE, researchers from the Australian University's School of Medical Sciences suggested obesity rates are tied to substances containing estrogen and estrogenic substances found in plastics, soy products, and other common items.
 
The researchers compared obesity rates among men and women from around the world to determine the impact of affluence on obesity, Medical Xpress reports. He found that while it women in the developing world tend to have significantly greater levels of obesity than men, that trend does not hold true in wealthier nations.
 
"In the Western world, such as in the United States, Europe and Australia, the rates of obesity between men and women are much closer. In some Western nations, male obesity is greater than female obesity," said lead researcher James Grantham, a University of Adelaide medical student. "While poor diet is no doubt to blame, we believe there is more to it than simply a high caloric intake," adding that "hormonally driven weight gain" is a key factor.
 
The researchers suggested nations with high dietary levels of soy, such as the United States, are particularly at risk. Xenoestrogen in the plastics chemical polyvinyl chloride, known as PVC, is also common in most wealthy countries.

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