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Environmental Obesogens: Mechanisms and Controversies

Authors
  • Heindel, Jerrold J.
  • Blumberg, Bruce
Type
Published Article
Journal
The Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology
Publisher
Annual Reviews
Publication Date
Jan 06, 2019
Volume
59
Pages
89–106
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1146/annurev-pharmtox-010818-021304
Source
Annual Reviews
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

Obesity is a worldwide pandemic in adults as well as children and adds greatly to health care costs through its association with type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and cancers. The prevailing medical view of obesity is that it results from a simple imbalance between caloric intake and energy expenditure. However, numerous other factors are important in the etiology of obesity. The obesogen hypothesis proposes that environmental chemicals termed obesogens promote obesity by acting to increase adipocyte commitment, differentiation, and size by altering metabolic set points or altering the hormonal regulation of appetite and satiety. Many obesogens are endocrine disrupting chemicals that interfere with normal endocrine regulation. Endocrine disrupting obesogens are abundant in our environment, used in everyday products from food packaging to fungicides. In this review, we explore the evidence supporting the obesogen hypothesis, as well as the gaps in our knowledge that are currently preventing a complete understanding of the extent to which obesogens contribute to the obesity pandemic.

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