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Association of diethylhexyl phthalate with obesity-related markers and body mass change from birth to 3 months of age
  1. Jin Hee Kim1,
  2. Hyunkyung Park1,
  3. Jangwoo Lee1,
  4. Geumjoon Cho2,
  5. Sooran Choi3,4,
  6. Gyuyeon Choi5,
  7. Su Young Kim6,
  8. So-Hee Eun2,
  9. Eunsook Suh5,
  10. Sung Koo Kim4,
  11. Hai-Joong Kim2,
  12. Gun-Ha Kim2,
  13. Jeong Jae Lee5,
  14. Young Don Kim6,
  15. Soyong Eom7,
  16. Seunghyo Kim6,
  17. Hyo-Bang Moon8,
  18. Jeongim Park9,
  19. Kyungho Choi1,
  20. Sungjoo Kim4,
  21. Sungkyoon Kim1
  1. 1Department of Environmental Health, Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  2. 2College of Medicine, Korea University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  3. 3College of Medicine, Inha University, Incheon, Republic of Korea
  4. 4College of Medicine, Hallym University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  5. 5College of Medicine, Soonchunhyang University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  6. 6Jeju National University School of Medicine, Jeju, Republic of Korea
  7. 7College of Medicine, Yonsei University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  8. 8Department of Marine Sciences and Convergent Technology, Hanyang University, Ansan, Republic of Korea
  9. 9College of Natural Sciences, Soonchunhyang University, Asan, Republic of Korea
  1. Correspondence to Dr. Sungkyoon Kim, Department of Environmental Health, Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University, 1 Gwankak-ro, Gwanak-gu, Seoul 08826, Republic of Korea; ddram2{at} Dr. Sungjoo Kim, College of Medicine, Hallym University, 170 Gwanpyeong-ro, Dongan-gu, Anyang, Gyeonggi-do 14066, Republic of Korea; icastle{at}


Background Several studies have suggested potential links of phthalates to obesity in children and adults. Limited evidence, however, has been available for the relations between diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) and obesity-related markers or body mass change in early life.

Methods 128 healthy pregnant women were recruited and, after delivery, their newborns’ first urine and umbilical cord blood samples were collected. We measured urinary levels of two DEHP metabolites, mono-(2-ethyl-5-hydroxyhexyl) phthalate (MEHHP) and mono-(2-ethyl-5-oxohexyl) phthalate (MEOHP). We also measured the levels of leptin, total cholesterol and triglyceride (TG) in cord serum, and used them along with weight, length, head circumference and ponderal index (PI, 100 g/cm3) at birth, as obesity-related markers, and estimated the relations between DEHP metabolites and obesity-related markers using generalised linear models. For the evaluation of body mass increase by early life DEHP exposure, body mass index (BMI) z-score change during 3 months after birth by DEHP metabolites in the first urine samples of the newborns were evaluated using logistic regression.

Results DEHP exposure was associated with decrease of PI and increase of TG (PI, β=−0.11, p=0.070 and TG, β=0.14, p=0.027), especially for boys (PI, β=−0.13, p=0.021; and TG, β=0.19, p=0.025). Moreover, DEHP exposure was positively associated with body mass increase during 3 months after birth (change of BMI z-scores, OR=4.35, p=0.025).

Conclusions Our findings suggest that DEHP exposure may affect body mass change in early life through changes of obesity-related markers.

  • Biomonitoring
  • Environmental epidemiology

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