Obesity, Estrogen, and Puberty Issues
A new study getting wide media coverage this week concludes that growing rates of obesity among young girls is leading to an earlier onset of puberty. The lead author of the study, Dr. Joyce Lee said, "Beyond identifying how obesity causes early puberty, it's also important to determine whether weight control interventions at an early age have the potential to slow the progression of puberty."
- Obviously, the researchers (and the media for that matter) are unfamiliar with numerous earlier studies, such as the August 2003 study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, showing that the average concentration of estrogens in obese women is between 50% and 219% higher than in thin women -- and is associated with a higher incidence of breast cancer.
Dr. Lee also went on to say, "Previous studies had found that girls who have earlier puberty tend to have higher body mass index (BMI), but it was unclear whether puberty led to the weight gain or weight gain led to the earlier onset of puberty. Our study offers evidence that it is the latter."
- Obviously, she is unfamiliar with a study published just a few days earlier in which lead author, Frederick vom Saal, concluded that when fetuses were exposed to environmental chemicals found in everyday plastics and pesticides their genes function was altered making them more prone to obesity and disease.
Why the discrepancy in the two reports?
- One says obesity leads to more estrogen.
- The other says exposure to chemical estogens leads to obesity.
Quite simply, we're talking about apples and oranges here. Dr. Lee is only measuring estrogens inherent in the human body. Dr. vom Saal is talking about xenoestrogens, chemical estrogens, potent in amounts as small as a billionth of a gram found in the environment.
The bottom line, when one looks at all these studies as a group, is that exposure to chemical estrogens during gestation (not to mention excessive phytoestrogens as found in those who consume large amounts of soy formula) leads to obesity in those children after they are born. Bad diets (particularly diets high in phytoestrogen-rich soy formulas during infancy and high fructose corn syrup in early childhood) then compound their problems leading to more obesity. That initial obesity then leads to higher levels of the body's own estrogens, which leads to further obesity -- which leads to an increased risk of a whole host of catastrophic illness, including: diabetes, heart disease, and a number of cancers including breast and ovarian cancer.