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Obesity and diabetes rates are increasing rapidly, and one expert thinks that high levels of exposure to certain industrial chemicals may play a role in this process. Limiting exposure to these compounds may improve blood tests results for measures of metabolic syndrome.
Most experts say that unhealthy lifestyles, which include a lack of exercise and poor diets, are mostly to blame for the rise in diabetes and obesity. However, Jerome Ruzzin, a researcher at the University of Bergin in Norway, said that these factors cannot fully explain the declines in metabolic health.
He believes that persistent organic pollutants, or POPs, are to blame. These chemicals are used in a wide array of industrial processes. Since they do not degrade over time, they can get into plant and animal foods that are consumed by people.
Ruzzin pointed to studies conducted in animals that have shown an association between high POP exposure and insulin resistance and other metabolic disturbances.
Current generations may be experiencing the problems caused by exposure to POPs, Ruzzin said. In order to protect future generations, researchers should continue to study the effect of these chemicals on human health and find ways to minimize the effect.
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