Research Request: Is Lead Poisoning Associated With Obesity?

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

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?

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.