Causes of obesity

In the United States, young Latinos have double the risk of becoming obese compared to young white individuals. What increases this obesity risk for Latinos? Factors such as genes, diet, and lifestyle choice all impact a person’s risk. However, those factors do not explain all of the risk.

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs)

Man-made chemicals in the environment are also a cause of obesity. These chemicals, known as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can stay in the environment for years. As a result, we have a higher risk of exposure to these unhealthy chemicals. Exposure to EDCs is linked to more risk of obesity. Originally, these chemicals (like pesticides) were for the agriculture industry. More recently, other kinds of chemicals have become more common. Examples include flame retardants in furniture and chemicals found in soaps and shampoos. Exposure to EDCs can be especially harmful to young Latino populations, including babies in the womb, infants, and children.

More research needed

This type of research is important for areas where there is a large Latino population and/or areas with agricultural work or other jobs with a lot of chemical exposure (such as firefighting, textile, and paper manufacturing).


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