In today’s headlines, USA Today reports that hormone-like chemicals in plastics, pesticides and other products pose “significant concern for public health,” possibly causing infertility, cancer and malformations.
There is strong evidence that chemicals that interfere with the hormone system can cause serious health problems, according to a scientific report from the Endocrine Society, now meeting in Washington, D.C. Although scientists still have many questions about the chemicals, the report says that it’s important for people to take a “precautionary approach” by reducing their exposures.
Hormone-disrupting chemicals include bisphenol A, or BPA, often used in plastic baby bottles and the linings of metal cans.
The new report is the latest in a growing number of statements from scientific groups warning of potential harm. Although the Food and Drug Administration says BPA is safe, Canada last year declared the chemical to be toxic. The USA’s National Toxicology Program last year also expressed “some concern” over BPA’s effects on the brain, behavior and prostate gland in children before and after birth. In 2007, a group of 38 leading researchers published a statement noting serious risks from BPA.
The Endocrine Society decided to release the scientific statement — the first it has ever issued — because these chemicals “affect everyone,” says society president Robert Carey. The report notes that 93% of Americans tested have been exposed to BPA.
The report notes that hormone-disrupting chemicals behave differently than other toxins. Because the body is exquisitely sensitive to hormones, Gore says, even small doses can cause serious problems, especially if babies are exposed during critical development windows, such as before birth.
Commentary: Fitness Friday Girl wishes to pose a question to the Food and Drug Administration: What are you smoking? Seriously now…how many studies do you need before you ban the stuff? If “small doses can cause serious problems” and “93% of Americans have been exposed” then why are companies still allowed to use it? Perhaps you’ve been exposed to a little too much BPA in your own baby bottles to recognize the health risks of these chemicals, and actually do something about it. Trust me, Fitness Friday Girl’s hormones are disrupted enough as it is. Please, speaking on behalf of all hormonally-challenged women in the world, I beg you to outlaw use of BPA. Thank you.
For more information on the effects of chemicals such as BPA on your hormones and your metabolism, as well as practical solutions for eliminating these chemicals from your environment, read Master Your Metabolism, by Jillian Michaels.
Next up, this also from USA Today: Giving children more opportunities for physical education in school may not increase their overall activity level or be effective in reducing childhood obesity rates, a new study suggests.
According to researchers at the Peninsula Medical School in the United Kingdom, children will compensate for the amount of phys ed they get in school by increasing or decreasing the amount of exercise they get after school.
Researchers attached accelerometers — devices that measure physical activity — to children at three schools that offered varying opportunities for physical activity.
Students at the school with the most phys-ed time got an average of 9.2 hours of scheduled exercise a week; students at the school offering the fewest opportunities got an average of 1.7 hours a week.
Even so, researchers found that students in all three schools were doing the same amount of physical activity throughout the week.
“The most surprising finding was that, given all this opportunity, at the end of the day, it made no difference. Children compensate for what they do or do not get,” says Terry Wilkin, a professor of endocrinology and metabolism at the school and a lead author of the study.
Wilkin says he suspects the hypothalamus in the brain is what controls a child’s level of physical activity, and he notes that it’s regulated similarly to the temperature of a house.
“There’s a set point, and when something tries to disturb that set point, the system registers the disturbance and rectifies this.”
Stephen Jefferies, president of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, says that even if the brain controls activity levels as the study suggests, a lack of opportunity for exercise in schools could still be detrimental.
“I actually think the body does know (how much physical activity is necessary), but what we’ve created is an environment that precludes the body from doing what it needs to do,” Jefferies says.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that children and adolescents get 1 hour or more of moderate to vigorous exercise 3 times a week.
Commentary: Fitness Friday Girl hopes this study doesn’t give schools the ammo they need to cut PE completely out of the weekly school schedule. Yes, that would be bad. Furthermore, FFG wonders why childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions if their hypothalamuses (hypothalumusi??) regulate the amount of physical activity they need? It’s all quite confusing. Perhaps the BPA in the plastics is messing with the kids’ hypothalamusi and telling them instead (cue the creepy music)
“time spent on the Wii playing Lego Star Wars has the same calorie-burning and cardiovascular benefits as hopscotch! Play the Wii. Play the Wii”
At least that seems to be what’s happening at Fitness Friday Headquarters. Dag nabbit! BPA strikes again! Ban BPA! Ban BPA!
And finally, this last story was sent to Fitness Friday Girl by alert reader, Missy. Add it to the Weird but True Files.
Mail Online reported A 23-year-old woman in UK gave birth to her daughter while she was standing…through the leg of her sweatpants!
Katherine Allen, mother of 2 sons (ages 5 and 3), felt pretty confident that she knew what she was doing when she went into labor on May 9. When her contractions first began, she called the hospital and was told to wait until they were seven and a half minutes apart before coming in. Considering the fact that her two previous labors had lasted up to twelve hours, this seemed reasonable to her.
She never made it to seven and a half minutes. “I got to the bottom of the stairs and I just felt this massive urge to push when all of a sudden my waters broke all over the hallway carpet,” says Allen.
In an instant, her partner, Alan Moore, reacted to what appeared to be lump traveling down the leg of Katherine’s gray sweat pants. “I was watching Katherine about to start climbing the stairs when all of a sudden she started screaming saying the baby was coming. I couldn’t believe my eyes when it appeared and rolled down her leg — I was just thinking I can’t let it hit the floor and dived to catch it.”
He sprang into action and scooped up 8 pound, 5 ounce Hannah just as she slid out of the bottom of Katherine’s pants. Umbilical cord still attached and running up her leg, a shocked Katherine sat patiently on the stairs holding her new daughter until an ambulance arrived.While dad cut the umbilical cord, paramedics and a midwife checked out mom and baby and found them both to be perfectly healthy. They didn’t even have to go to the hospital!
Dad, of course, is thrilled about his experience assisting in the birth of his daughter. ‘“I feel like I have done more in a few hours with my daughter than some dads manage in the first few months — it’s exhausting but fantastic.”
As for mom, she thinks gravity just might be the secret to easy childbirth. “My other births definitely weren’t this easy and I will always recommend standing up to do it in future,” she says.
For a picture of the happy family, sweat pants and all, click here.
Commentary: Fitness Friday Girl defers the commentary to alert reader-Missy’s witty huband Walker (say that fast five times!)
“Going forward, that baby is going to wear the pants in the family.
Puts new meaning in the words ‘sweat pants’.
That baby is bound to have a ‘leg up’ on the competition.”
Even Fitness Friday Girl can’t top those.
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