Research Request: Is Lead Poisoning Associated With Obesity?

As you all know, exposure to lead in infancy can lead to lower IQ, poor education outcomes, and higher rates of violent crime later in life. But another thought popped into my head this weekend. Among other things, lead does its work by weakening executive control in the brain, which is associated with things like impulse control and the ability to associate future effects from present actions. So aside from crime, what else might be affected by lead exposure?

How about obesity? This is just a guess on my part, but it strikes me that a child who loses impulse control and the ability to think about future consequences, might also be more likely to eat without thinking about the added weight down the road. This could easily lead to obesity later in life.

The only reason I’m mentioning this is that I have no way of testing it myself, so I thought I’d throw it out into the ether and see if anyone else has a bright idea for looking into this. Maybe NHANES data? I’m pretty sure a straight ecological study, of the kind that demonstrates the lead-crime link, wouldn’t do any good. But longitudinal data might. Anyone out there have any ideas?

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate