Blood lead level association with lower body weight in NHANES 1999-2006

Scinicariello, Franco; Buser, Melanie C; Mevissen, Meike; Portier, Christopher J (2013). Blood lead level association with lower body weight in NHANES 1999-2006. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 273(3), pp. 516-23. Elsevier 10.1016/j.taap.2013.09.022

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BACKGROUND Lead exposure is associated with low birth-weight. The objective of this study is to determine whether lead exposure is associated with lower body weight in children, adolescents and adults. METHODS We analyzed data from NHANES 1999-2006 for participants aged ≥3 using multiple logistic and multivariate linear regression. Using age- and sex-standardized BMI Z-scores, overweight and obese children (ages 3-19) were classified by BMI ≥85 th and ≥95 th percentiles, respectively. The adult population (age ≥20) was classified as overweight and obese with BMI measures of 25-29.9 and ≥30, respectively. Blood lead level (BLL) was categorized by weighted quartiles. RESULTS Multivariate linear regressions revealed a lower BMI Z-score in children and adolescents when the highest lead quartile was compared to the lowest lead quartile (β (SE)=-0.33 (0.07), p<0.001), and a decreased BMI in adults (β (SE)=-2.58 (0.25), p<0.001). Multiple logistic analyses in children and adolescents found a negative association between BLL and the percentage of obese and overweight with BLL in the highest quartile compared to the lowest quartile (OR=0.42, 95% CI: 0.30-0.59; and OR=0.67, 95% CI: 0.52-0.88, respectively). Adults in the highest lead quartile were less likely to be obese (OR=0.42, 95% CI: 0.35-0.50) compared to those in the lowest lead quartile. Further analyses with blood lead as restricted cubic splines, confirmed the dose-relationship between blood lead and body weight outcomes. CONCLUSIONS BLLs are associated with lower body mass index and obesity in children, adolescents and adults.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Veterinary Pharmacology and Toxicology

UniBE Contributor:

Mevissen, Meike


600 Technology > 630 Agriculture








Susanne Portner

Date Deposited:

22 Aug 2014 11:32

Last Modified:

24 Nov 2016 17:09

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Obesity, Body mass index, Lead, NHANES, Children, Adults




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