The Real Reason Millennials Are Fatter Than Their Parents

November 25th 2015

Diana Crandall

Millennials aren’t heavier than their parents because we binge watch Netflix, a recent Discovery News (D News) video reveals. It could actually be because there are multiple chemicals in our food and environment that increase the pounds we pack on.

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These chemicals are known as “obesogens,” the National Institute of Health explains, and “obesogens” refer to the dietary, pharmaceutical, and industrial compounds we consume that can alter metabolic processes in our body. This increases the amount of overall weight we put on.

Why do scientists think weight gain is environmental?

Scientists think environmental factors may have something to do with weight gain because people aren’t the only ones getting a little chubbier.

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Even animals, like pets, laboratory animals and urban rats, have shown increases in their average body weight over the past few decades, according to a 2011 study published in the Royal Society.

Discovery News points out that sometimes harmful chemicals like DDE (a DDT breakdown product), BPA (which is used in plastics), and PFOA can find their way into a pregnant woman by way of a water bottle, upholstery, or even carpeting.

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This can disrupt fetal development. In multiple animal studies the generation exposed to chemicals while still in the womb eventually became fatter than their parents, Discovery News notes.

Is there something in the food?

The hormones and antibiotics in our food might not be helping either, according to a study published in the journal Obesity Research & Clinical Practice.

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Introducing those chemicals into our bodies by way of food could potentially change the gut bacteria that helps us digest food.

But Discovery News notes that it’s impossible to sample someone’s gut bacteria from 30 years ago, so it’s difficult to reach a conclusion about changes in bacteria in the digestive tract.

What about drugs?

Pharmaceuticals like the diabetes drug Avandia (also known by its generic name, rosiglitazone) have been linked to human and animal weight gain, according to one 2011 study.

About 70 percent of Americans take at least on prescription drug, and more than half take two, according to the Mayo Clinic.

What’s the scope of the problem?

Obesity is on the rise in America, Discovery News notes. In the U.S. today, more than 35 percent of adults and almost 17 percent of children aged 2-19 years old are obese, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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To learn more about possible causes of obesity in Millennials, check out the video from Discovery News below.