For years people have been blaming childhood obesity on a number of different things. Although some accusations might actually hold some truth, most are pretty ridiculous claims that are strictly myths.
TL;DR Scientists studied the link between household cleaning products and childhood obesity. The results confirmed that children exposed to higher amounts of disinfectants had a higher risk of becoming overweight.
You'd think obesity in children would leave parents at fault, for either feeding kids unhealthy foods or not offering them an adequate amount of exercise. In most cases this is usually the problem, but what if the numbers are rising not due to negligent homes, but the household products we pick and choose to keep in them?
All this time you may think you're providing the safest environment for your infant by keeping disinfectants and cleaning supplies on hand, all the while increasing their chance of being overweight by the time they're three years old.
Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) investigators put cleaning products to the test in a study that associated product use with a child's weight by age three.
During the experiment, fecal samples were taken from 757 infants that confirmed what scientists already suspected... a specific gut microbiota linked to weight gain was much more present in babies that were constantly exposed to cleaning products, whether it was eco-friendly or not, than to those who had never been exposed at all.
Before the experiment even began, mothers of the infants were asked if they used any of the 31 big brand chemical-based products in their homes. The most common product used was a multisurface cleaner, followed by handwashing detergents and spray air fresheners such as Febreze.
The conclusion was that homes that used eco-friendly cleaning products were more likely to see children remain a normal weight and decrease the likelihood of childhood obesity. Children exposed more frequently to cleaning products have a higher risk of being overweight by the time they are toddlers.
This is especially an issue for children that attend daycare or pre-school, as caretakers rely on disinfectants heavily to limit the spreading of bacteria amongst a classroom full of infants or toddlers.
It's uncertain what the future is for childhood obesity in Canada, considering most homes regularly use cleaning products without even thinking twice.
We can only hope more of the tested products are actually named so parents know their options when it comes to taking a different route in keeping households safe from germs and bacteria.