Date of Award

January 2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

School of Public Health

First Advisor

Nicole Deziel

Second Advisor

Nicola Hawley

Abstract

Background: Growing evidence suggests that environmental chemicals, including certain pesticides and bisphenol A (BPA), may be linked to obesity because of their ability to disrupt metabolic functions. Methods: We conducted a community-based, cross-sectional survey of 319 non-pregnant mothers, ≥18 years old, with a child aged 2-<5 years in Samoa, a country with high obesity prevalence, understudied agricultural and residential pesticide use and BPA consumption from canned and packaged goods. We measured weight and height of the mother-child pair and interviewed mothers about their potential environmental exposures. Using multivariable logistic regression, we evaluated the association between pesticide and BPA exposure surrogates and weight status. Results: Among 319 mothers, 87.2% were overweight or obese (BMI≥26); among 314 children, 16.2% were overweight or obese (World Health Organization BMIz≥2). A total of 188 (59%) and 108 (34%) women reported home pest treatments with insecticides or herbicides, respectively. In adjusted analyses, we observed a borderline significant association (p=0.056) between herbicide use and higher maternal BMI; no associations were observed for other environmental exposures. Children who lived within 0-29 meters of a farm/plantation had lower odds of overweight/obesity. Conclusion: Our results suggest a possible link between herbicide use and higher maternal BMI as well as an association with proximity of home to a farm/plantation and lower BMI in children. Further research could incorporate biological or environmental sampling of pesticide and BPA exposure.

Comments

This thesis is restricted to Yale network users only. It will be made publicly available on 06/07/2018

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