Household Cleaning Products Could Actually Make Your Kids Overweight—Wait, What?

Cold and flu season is about to descend upon us, which can only signal one thing. A mad rush to the store to stock up on cleaning supplies. While protecting your home and the rest of the family from the plague is vital this time of year, you might want to think twice before sanitizing your house from floor to ceiling. A new study has found that household cleaning products could impact kids’ weight.

The new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal has found a connection between some common household cleaning products and the risk of kids becoming overweight after being exposed to the products. The researchers concluded that kids who lived in homes where disinfectants were used once a week had a higher BMI by the time they reached age three than those who had less exposure to the same products.

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Not all household cleaners are made the same, however. The study also found that cleaning products that were categorized as natural or eco-friendly, using ingredients like baking soda and vinegar, had no impact on a child’s weight.

So what causes the products to affect a child’s weight? Gut bacteria. To conduct the study researchers looked at stool samples from 757 babies ages three to four-months-old. They found that kids living in households where disinfectants were used regularly had higher levels of the Lachnospiraceae family of gut bacteria. Higher levels of this type of bacteria were linked to more fat stored in the gut and higher insulin resistance in mice. In other words, the product’s impact gut health, which in turn affects weight.

More research might be needed to confirm these findings, but when it comes to cleaning products at home, this is just one more good reason to go green.

—Shahrzad Warkentin

Featured photo: Mimzy via Pixabay



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