Chemicals in our environment cause weight gain - Riga Stradiņš University

Chemicals in our environment cause weight gain

10:25, 10 April, 2015
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Laila Meija, assistant professor and dietologist of the Department of Sports and Nutrition, RSU Faculty of Public Health and Social Welfare, stresses that unhealthy diet does not always account for obesity. Instead, various harmful substances that we consume on a daily basis foster its development.

Unhealthy lifestyle is a commonly known topical problem and the main cause of obesity – for the past decades people have been consuming high-calorie foods and getting little physical activities. Person who lives such lifestyle may be commonly known as a coach potato. Such lifestyle includes sitting on a sofa, eating high calorie foods, watching television or using a computer.

According to the Assistant professor Laila Meija, “Obesity is not always caused by eating burgers and drinking cola. Physicians are aware that the cause of obesity is sometimes hard to detect and often difficult to treat. Thus, a theory of “programming of obesity” was developed. It means that an infant is predisposed to obesity, for example, at the age of 40. It is caused by various man-made substances having impact on human metabolic regulation and fat metabolism that cause the development of extra fat cells. Besides, many substances have an impact on endocrine system and influence the development of hormones leading to the change of appetite, sense of satiety and choice of food”.

The main group of harmful substances that cause obesity:

  • pesticides found in fruits and vegetables,
  • plasticizers (the most common – phthalates, substances added to plastics to increase their flexibility and durability, among products containing these substances are packing films, artificial leather, many children's toys etc.),
  • bisphenol A (BPA) that is made into a variety of plastic products, inside layer of tin can etc.

Dietologist Laila Meija advises not to panic and change our daily routine:

  • Avoid using plastic products
  • Use ecologic cleaning and maintenance products and more water in housekeeping
  • Be physically active, sweat, drink water and consume high-fibre and healthy foods

Rīga Stradiņš University, 16 Dzirciema Street, Rīga, LV-1007, Latvia, +371 67409261 (UTC +2), international@rsu.lv