Many explanations have been suggested for the rise in obesity. Some of them are simple ideas about what and how we eat that have helped shape the advice given at weight loss clinics, but others are more controversial. One idea that has recently been generating a lot of debate is whether the chemicals that lie around our homes in dust could be causing us to gain weight.
Obesogens in Your Environment
Some scientists have suggested that dusty homes could be exposing us to chemicals that make us more likely to become obese. The chemicals, which they call obesogens, are found in all kinds of places, from packaging to furnishings. Although they are usually present at very low levels, they can accumulate in the home. The researchers propose that the chemicals might build up enough to start influencing our health in ways that could be making us more likely to gain weight. They even suggest that keeping your home clean and dusted could reduce exposure and help protect against obesity. However, you aren’t likely to hear this advice at a weight loss clinic any time soon.
Why Dust Isn’t the Main Culprit
Although this research does highlight the fact that our environment can affect our weight in unexpected ways, there is not yet enough evidence to be sure that particular chemicals are to blame. It is not known whether these chemicals are at high enough levels to affect human health or exactly what effects they might have on the body if they do reach these levels. The rise in obesity is a complex problem that probably has many causes, from the availability of cheap and tempting junk food to the more sedentary lifestyles that we lead today. While learning more about the possible causes is important for science, it is more useful for individuals to focus on the factors we already know to be significant and changeable. Eating a better diet, getting regular exercise and seeking support at a weight loss clinic will be much more effective than dusting.