Prenatal phthalate exposures and childhood adiposity: examining the obesogen hypothesis Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
  • Buckley, Jessie
    • Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Epidemiology
  • Background: Phthalate exposures, particularly during fetal development, are hypothesized to be obesogenic with effects of anti-androgenic phthalates potentially differing by child's sex. Previous studies are primarily cross-sectional and did not evaluate gestational exposures. To address these gaps, we assessed associations of prenatal phthalate exposures with childhood body size in three prospective birth cohorts. Methods: In Aim 1, we utilized data from the Mount Sinai Children's Environmental Health Study to assess associations of third trimester maternal urinary phthalate metabolite concentrations with percent fat mass among children aged 4 to 9 years (N = 180 children with 364 visits). In Aim 2, we pooled data from three Children's Environmental Health Studies to examine prenatal maternal urinary phthalate concentrations in relation to overweight/obese status and age- and sex-standardized body mass index (BMI), weight, and height z-scores among children aged 4 to 7 years (N = 707 children with 1416 visits). For both studies, we estimated associations between standard deviation increases in natural log phthalate metabolite concentrations and longitudinal body size measures using Bayesian multilevel logistic and linear regression. We estimated associations in multiple metabolite models adjusted for confounders such as maternal pre-pregnancy BMI, gestational weight gain, smoking during pregnancy, and breastfeeding. We evaluated heterogeneity of associations by child's sex and, in the pooled study, by race/ethnicity and cohort. Results: In Specific Aim 1, children in the highest tertile of creatinine-corrected maternal third trimester urinary concentrations of summed di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate metabolites (sumDEHP) had lower percent fat mass than children in the lowest tertile (beta = -3.06, 95% CI: -5.99, -0.09). In Specific Aim 2, prenatal urinary mono-3-carboxypropyl phthalate (MCPP) concentrations were associated increased odds of overweight/obese status (OR per SD = 2.12, 95% CI = 1.16, 3.96). We also observed inverse associations of maternal urinary mono-ethyl (MEP) and mono-benzyl (MBzP) concentrations with z-scores among girls and non-Hispanic black children, respectively. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that prenatal exposure to MCPP, but not other phthalates, may be obesogenic. Associations of sumDEHP, MEP, and MBzP with decreased body size in some subgroups indicate that prenatal exposures to these phthalates may also interfere with physical development.
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  • In Copyright
  • Daniels, Julie
  • Engel, Stephanie
  • Mendez, Michelle
  • Richardson, David
  • Herring, Amy
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2014
Place of publication
  • Chapel Hill, NC
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