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In utero DDT and DDE exposure and obesity status of 7-year-old Mexican-American children in the CHAMACOS cohort.

  • Author(s): Warner, Marcella
  • Aguilar Schall, Raul
  • Harley, Kim G
  • Bradman, Asa
  • Barr, Dana
  • Eskenazi, Brenda
  • et al.


In utero exposure to endocrine disrupting compounds including dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) has been hypothesized to increase risk of obesity later in life.


The Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas (CHAMACOS) study is a longitudinal birth cohort of low-income Latinas living in a California agricultural community. We examined the relation of in utero DDT and DDE exposure to child obesity at 7 years of age. We also examined the trend with age (2, 3.5, 5, and 7 years) in the exposure-obesity relation.


We included 270 children with o,p´-DDT, p,p´-DDT, and p,p´-DDE concentrations measured in maternal serum during pregnancy (nanograms per gram lipid) and complete 7-year follow-up data including weight (kilograms) and height (centimeters). Body mass index (BMI; kilograms per meter squared) was calculated and obesity was defined as ≥ 95th percentile on the sex-specific BMI-for-age Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2000 growth charts.


At 7 years, 96 (35.6%) children were obese. A 10-fold increase in o,p´-DDT, p,p´-DDT, or p,p´-DDE, was nonsignificantly associated with increased odds (OR) of obesity [o,p´-DDT adjusted (adj-) OR = 1.17, 95% CI: 0.75, 1.82; p,p´-DDT adj-OR = 1.19, 95% CI: 0.81, 1.74; p,p´-DDE adj-OR = 1.22, 95% CI: 0.72, 2.06]. With increasing age at follow-up, we observed a significant trend toward a positive association between DDT and DDE exposure and odds of obesity.


We did not find a significant positive relation between in utero DDT and DDE exposure and obesity status of 7-year-old children. However, given the observed trend with age, continued follow-up will be informative.

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