Dr. Campbell: Can dust in the house lead to obesity?

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Obesity is an epidemic in the United States today and we are spending more than $150 billion a year on obesity and obesity-related illness.

Now, a new study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology suggests that household dust can be an important factor in the development of obesity.

Interestingly, this particular study was actually conducted in 11 homes in North Carolina.

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1. Tell us about this new study

Small amounts of household dust appear to contain many of the compounds that can activate our fat cells in our bodies—this may cause them to accumulate more fat, which contributes to obesity.

In this study, researchers took dust samples from each home and analyzed them. Using a mouse model, researchers took extracts from seven of the samples and found that these extracts triggered the development of mature fat cells and caused these cells to accumulate fat—suggesting that certain particles in household dust can contribute to obesity.

2. What can we learn from this study?

Certainly this is a very small study that was performed in animals. However, it does suggest that obesity can be a complex illness. Diet and exercise remains a mainstay of obesity prevention and treatment but this study does suggest that environment and pollution may also play a role in the development of obesity and warrants further study.

3. How can we all work to prevent obesity?

The most important thing we can do is to make sure to eat a healthy diet and exercise at least 120 minutes a week.
• Focus on eating more fruits and veggies and fewer high carbohydrate meals.
• Avoid calorie dense, nutrient poor foods such as fast foods and sweets.
• Set a good example for you kids as they often adopt the lifestyle that they see from their parents.

To get in touch with Dr. Campbell, you can head to his website, Facebook page or message him on Twitter.

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