Plastic nursery

While we’re on the subject of childhood nutrition, let’s talk about another very serious problem: plastic packaging.

Recent research has unearthed two disturbing trends among children in this country. One study found that higher urinary levels of a phthalate called DEHP is tied to risk of insulin resistance among teens.

Manufacturers use DEHP to soften plastic bottles. You’ll find it in any container that features the recycling number 3.

Yet another study showed that high urine levels of BPA are linked with a higher risk of obesity in kids between the ages of six and 18. And not just slightly higher, either.

This research found that children with the highest BPA levels were roughly twice as likely to be obese as those with the lowest levels. And given the current crisis facing American kids, this isn’t a finding we can afford to ignore.

Baby bottles and sippy cups are largely BPA-free these days. But you can still find the chemical in can linings and in other plastic bottles. Pthalates, meanwhile, remain largely unregulated.

The bottom line: Use glass or stainless steel when you can. And maybe more importantly, make an effort to keep prepackaged foods off of your child’s dinner plate.

Because if you don’t eat them, why on earth would you feed them to your kids?


“Low blood long chain omega-3 fatty acids in UK children are associated with poor cognitive performance and behavior: a cross-sectional analysis from the DOLAB study.” PLoS One. 2013 Jun 24;8(6):e66697.

Pittman, Genevra. “BPA, phthalates tied to kids’ weight, diabetes risk.” Reuters. 19 August 2013.