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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(9), 3332-3347; doi:10.3390/ijerph7093332
Article

An Examination of the Association of Selected Toxic Metals with Total and Central Obesity Indices: NHANES 99-02

1,2
, 3,4
, 5,6
 and 3,7,8,*
1 Department of Psychology, Old Dominion University, 250 Mills Godwin Building, Norfolk, VA 23529, USA 2 Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Old Dominion University, 250 Mills Godwin Building, Norfolk, VA 23529, USA 3 Department of Biostatistics, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1665 University Boulevard, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA 4 Division of Cardiovascular Disease, Department of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmngham, 1665 University Boulevard, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA 5 Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Wayne State University, 259 Mack Avenue, Detroit, Michigan 48201, USA 6 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Wayne State University, Wayne State University, 275 E. Hancock Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201, USA 7 Department of Nutrition Sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1665 University Boulevard, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA 8 Clinical Nutrition Research Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1665 University Boulevard, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 July 2010 / Revised: 9 August 2010 / Accepted: 23 August 2010 / Published: 26 August 2010
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Abstract

It is conceivable that toxic metals contribute to obesity by influencing various aspects of metabolism, such as by substituting for essential micronutrients and vital metals, or by inducing oxidative stress. Deficiency of the essential metal zinc decreases adiposity in humans and rodent models, whereas deficiencies of chromium, copper, iron, and magnesium increases adiposity. This study utilized the NHANES 99-02 data to explore the association between waist circumference and body mass index with the body burdens of selected toxic metals (barium, cadmium, cobalt, cesium, molybdenum, lead, antimony, thallium, and tungsten). Some of the associations were significant direct relationships (barium and thallium), and some of the associations were significant inverse relationships (cadmium, cobalt, cesium, and lead). Molybdenum, antimony, and tungsten had mostly insignificant associations with waist circumference and body mass index. This is novel result for most of the toxic metals studied, and a surprising result for lead because high stored lead levels have been shown to correlate with higher rates of diabetes, and obesity may be a key risk factor for developing diabetes. These associations suggest the possibility that environmental exposure to metals may contribute to variations in human weight gain/loss. Future research, such as prospective studies rather than the cross-sectional studies presented here, is warranted to confirm these findings.
Keywords: obesity; endocrine disruptors; waist circumference; toxic metals; public health obesity; endocrine disruptors; waist circumference; toxic metals; public health
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Padilla, M.A.; Elobeid, M.; Ruden, D.M.; Allison, D.B. An Examination of the Association of Selected Toxic Metals with Total and Central Obesity Indices: NHANES 99-02. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7, 3332-3347.

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