Study Sees Link Between In-Utero EMF Exposure, Childhood Obesity

A new study sees a link between in-utero EMF exposure and childhood obesity. EMFs are electromagnetic frequencies and this is not the first time similar links have been seen.

According to Microwave News, De-Kun Li a leading U.S. environmental epidemiologist and a senior researcher at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California, reveals that EMF exposures received in the womb are linked to increased risks for childhood obesity. “Maternal exposure to high [magnetic fields] during pregnancy may be a new and previously unknown factor contributing to the world-wide epidemic of childhood obesity/overweight,” Li wrote in a paper recently posted by Scientific Reports, a peer-reviewed, open access journal.

Last year, Li published a paper pointing to links between prenatal EMFs and childhood asthma; both studies were prospective in design and implemented in the 1990s during the California EMF program, said Microwave News. At that time, Li measured EMF exposures of pregnant women for a study of EMFs and miscarriages and monitored the children’s weight until their 13th birthdays. These two are the only prospective epidemiological studies conducted on EMFs Microwave News noted.

Li documented a connection between two major public health problems in children: Obesity and asthma. Obesity affects about 20 percent of all American children and asthma is the most ubiquitous chronic childhood disease. Four years ago, Li also found that the long-term decline in the quality of human sperm could also—at least, in part—be linked with EMFs; 10 years ago, Li showed that pregnant women exposed to EMFs above a certain threshold (16 mG) experienced increased miscarriage risks. “We should definitely not be ignoring the potentially serious health impacts of exposure to EMFs,” Li told Microwave News.

In his new research, Li discovered that children born to women exposed to EMFs greater than 2.5 mG (0.25 µT) for at least 10 percent of the day (2.4 hours) during pregnancy experienced a nearly two-fold risk of obesity vs. those exposed to 1.5 mG or less, said Microwave News. When Li limited his review to children with the most detailed follow-ups—11 years of age or older—risks rose to close to a nearly three-fold expected rate of obesity. Both risks are considered statistically significant. For “persistently” obese children, the risk was five times higher for maternal exposures above 1.5 mG and more than six times higher above 2.5 mG, vs. women exposed to 1.5 mG or less. Li found a dose-response relationship and said the dose-response is particularly “strong,” wrote Microwave News.

The effects of EMF on the developing fetus gained some credence in early 2012 following a Yale School of Medicine study led by Hugh Taylor. As we’ve written, in that study, cell phone use during pregnancy was potentially linked to behavior disorders, such as hyperactivity. The results, based on studies conducted on mice, appeared in the March 15 issue of Scientific Reports. According to Taylor, behavioral changes were the result of an effect during pregnancy on the neuron development in the prefrontal cortex region of the brain. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a developmental disorder linked to the neuropathology is, for the most part, localized in the same brain region, and is distinguished by inattention and hyperactivity.

Recently, Health Canada proposed guidelines for limited cell phone use and encouraged Canadians to reduce cell phone talk times and to communicate by text messaging or with a hands-free device whenever possible. Other countries have already implemented this tactic, and, in Russia, officials issued a recommendation that children under 18 completely avoid using the devices. The United Kingdom, Israel, Belgium, Germany, India, and Finland have urged their citizens to be very cautious when it comes to their children’s use of cell phones; France issued a number of recommendations that include selling devices that limit head exposure to EMF, banning ads promoting devices to children under the age of 14, banning cell phone use to children during teaching activities in certain locations and for certain grades, and indicating the SAR (specific absorption rate) clearly on the device, among others.

A new study sees a link between in-utero EMF exposure and childhood obesity. EMFs are electromagnetic frequencies and this is not the first time similar links have been seen.

According to Microwave News, De-Kun Li a leading U.S. environmental epidemiologist and a senior researcher at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California, reveals that EMF exposures received in the womb are linked to increased risks for childhood obesity. “Maternal exposure to high [magnetic fields] during pregnancy may be a new and previously unknown factor contributing to the world-wide epidemic of childhood obesity/overweight,” Li wrote in a paper recently posted by Scientific Reports, a peer-reviewed, open access journal.

Last year, Li published a paper pointing to links between prenatal EMFs and childhood asthma; both studies were prospective in design and implemented in the 1990s during the California EMF program, said Microwave News. At that time, Li measured EMF exposures of pregnant women for a study of EMFs and miscarriages and monitored the children’s weight until their 13th birthdays. These two are the only prospective epidemiological studies conducted on EMFs Microwave News noted.

Li documented a connection between two major public health problems in children: Obesity and asthma. Obesity affects about 20 percent of all American children and asthma is the most ubiquitous chronic childhood disease. Four years ago, Li also found that the long-term decline in the quality of human sperm could also—at least, in part—be linked with EMFs; 10 years ago, Li showed that pregnant women exposed to EMFs above a certain threshold (16 mG) experienced increased miscarriage risks. “We should definitely not be ignoring the potentially serious health impacts of exposure to EMFs,” Li told Microwave News.

In his new research, Li discovered that children born to women exposed to EMFs greater than 2.5 mG (0.25 µT) for at least 10 percent of the day (2.4 hours) during pregnancy experienced a nearly two-fold risk of obesity vs. those exposed to 1.5 mG or less, said Microwave News. When Li limited his review to children with the most detailed follow-ups—11 years of age or older—risks rose to close to a nearly three-fold expected rate of obesity. Both risks are considered statistically significant. For “persistently” obese children, the risk was five times higher for maternal exposures above 1.5 mG and more than six times higher above 2.5 mG, vs. women exposed to 1.5 mG or less. Li found a dose-response relationship and said the dose-response is particularly “strong,” wrote Microwave News.

The effects of EMF on the developing fetus gained some credence in early 2012 following a Yale School of Medicine study led by Hugh Taylor. As we’ve written, in that study, cell phone use during pregnancy was potentially linked to behavior disorders, such as hyperactivity. The results, based on studies conducted on mice, appeared in the March 15 issue of Scientific Reports. According to Taylor, behavioral changes were the result of an effect during pregnancy on the neuron development in the prefrontal cortex region of the brain. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a developmental disorder linked to the neuropathology is, for the most part, localized in the same brain region, and is distinguished by inattention and hyperactivity.

Recently, Health Canada proposed guidelines for limited cell phone use and encouraged Canadians to reduce cell phone talk times and to communicate by text messaging or with a hands-free device whenever possible. Other countries have already implemented this tactic, and, in Russia, officials issued a recommendation that children under 18 completely avoid using the devices. The United Kingdom, Israel, Belgium, Germany, India, and Finland have urged their citizens to be very cautious when it comes to their children’s use of cell phones; France issued a number of recommendations that include selling devices that limit head exposure to EMF, banning ads promoting devices to children under the age of 14, banning cell phone use to children during teaching activities in certain locations and for certain grades, and indicating the SAR (specific absorption rate) clearly on the device, among others.

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