Age and Sex-Specific Relationships between Phthalate Exposures and Obesity in Chinese Children at Puberty

This study examined the age and sex-specific associations of urine levels of six mono-phthalates with body size and fat distribution in Chinese children at puberty. Four hundred and ninety-three school-aged children (247 boys, 246 girls) were recruited. Obesity related anthropometric indices were measured and body fat proportion (BF%) was calculated. Spot urine samples were collected and phthalate monoesters were detected by an API 2000 electrospray triple quadrupole mass spectrometer (ESI-MS/MS). Associations between phthalate exposure and overweight/obesity measures and their trends were examined by multiple linear regression and Logistic regression analyses, respectively. the results showed that di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) metabolites and monobutyl phthalate (MBP) were found to be the most detectable chemicals. In 8-10 years (yrs) group, concentrations of MEHP and MBP were significantly higher in girls than those in boys. However, concentrations of all phthalate monoesters, except for MEP and MEHP, in 11-13 yrs boys were significantly higher than those in girls. After adjusting for confounders including puberty onset, urinary concentrations of MBP and sum of low molecular-weight phthalate metabolites (?LMP) were positively associated with boys’ obesity in a concentration-effect manner, while concentrations of MEHP, MEHHP and sum of DEHP metabolites (?MEHP) were negatively associated with girls’ obesity. Associations between phthalate exposure levels and BMI z-score changes were age- and sex-specific in school-age children. The authors concluded that there are age and sex-specific concentration-effect associations between phthalate exposure and fat distribution in Chinese children. Urinary phthalate levels in 11-13 yrs boys were about 30 percent higher than those in girls, and ?MEHP levels in younger boys (<10 yrs) were significantly higher than those in elder boys (>10 yrs). Associations were positive for MBP and ?LMP with both BMI z-score and fat distribution in boys >10 years of age, and negative for ?MEHP with fat distribution in girls <10 years of age. Authors: Zhang Y, Meng X, Chen L, Li D, Zhao L, Zhao Y, Li L, Shi H. ;Full Source: PLoS One. 2014 Aug 14;9(8):e104852. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0104852. eCollection 2014. ;