In Britain, approximately 25% of adults and 20% of children are obese. The Independent on Sunday recently that Brits have not reduced their level of physical activity since the early eighties, which begs the question - why exactly are we getting fatter?
A recent study in Spain has found that the pesticide hexachlorobenzene (HCB), once used globally to treat food crops, may influence our dress size. Scientists found that children born with the highest level of HCB in their umbilical cord are twice as likely to be obese before their sixth birthday. The pesticide has already been banned internationally although it will be some time before the chemical is completely eradicated from soils and our food chain.
Certain chemicals, such as obesogens, have been found to turn stem cells into fat cells, which provide the body with more places to store fat. Though we are not yet sure how a chemical like HCB could cause obesity this study adds to evidence by other researches that pollutants in our air, food and waterways can contribute to reducing the health of our body's cells.
Though a completely chemical free lifestyle seems like a bit of pipe dream at the moment, the organic movement is but one positive influence counteracting the effects of epidemics like child obesity.