Here are some pretty interesting facts about things that help attribute to obesity. These go beyond the obvious things that we know of – such as overeating, not exercising, etc.
Air pollution. It doesn’t just hurt your lungs: A 2012 study found that prenatal exposure to high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the air made children twice as likely to be obese by age 7.
The takeaway? If you’re pregnant, steer clear of car exhaust and smoke from cigarettes, fireplaces and barbecue grills as much as possible.
Altitude. The closer you live to sea level, the heavier you’re likely to be, found a study published in the International Journal of Obesity. In fact, people living at elevations below 1,640 feet were 5.1 times more likely to be obese than people living above 9,843 feet. Researchers controlled for things like diet, fitness, temperature, etc.; they think the “increased metabolic demands” of living at high elevations may be behind the phenomenon.
The takeaway? If you’re livin’ low, there’s not much you can do to change your altitude (short of moving to the mountains), but… why not take a ski vacation? Couldn’t hurt!
Antibiotics. According to a 2012 study, there’s a correlation between obesity and early use of antibiotics in children. A study on mice resulted in similar findings. Researchers believe it might be due to how antibiotics change gut bacteria (more on that below).
The takeaway? Talk with a doctor before giving children antibiotics — or even taking them yourself. Discuss ways you can normalize your gut bacteria while on antibiotic therapy.
BPA. A 2013 study found that children with high levels of BPA (a chemical found in lots of plastic products) had increased odds of obesity — and earlier research has found the same to be true for adults.
The takeaway? Easy: Limit your exposure to items that contain BPA — and that means not even touching them, since BPA is easily absorbed through the skin. For a list of common items that contain BPA.
The takeaway? If your destination’s five blocks away or closer, walk. Even if your daily commute is long, you can walk partway to work, too.
Fast-food salads. Salads from several food chains have been found to contain 1,200 calories or more — including some that contain sounds-good-for-you grilled chicken. As a result, customers consume way more calories than they’d bargained for, and more calories equals potential weight gain.