Report: Obama Administration Spent over $4 Million on Study Aimed to Link Pollution to Childhood Obesity

In this picture taken on October 11, 2011, a child's arm (R) is seen during a weight loss program at a hospital in Beijing on October 11, 2011. A Chinese National Task Force on childhood obesity found that almost one in five children under seven are overweight in China, and …

The Obama Administration reportedly spent $4.1 million on a study in the hope of connecting pollution to childhood obesity, according to a report by the Washington Free Beacon.

In 2013, Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) dished out over $4 million to the University of Southern California for a study aiming to find a possible connection between pollution, increased fast food consumption, and childhood obesity.

Five years and $4,146,875  later, the study found no such definitive connection but said there was a possible correlation.

“Childhood exposures to regional and traffic-related air pollutants were associated with increased consumption by adolescents of trans fat and fast foods,” the study stated.

“Our results indicate that air pollution exposures may contribute to obesogenic behaviors,” it added.

Free Beacon reports:

The study was based on interviews conducted with school-age children in twelve southern California communities in the 1990s. Diet information was based on self-reported information from the students, who were given a “food frequency questionnaire” annually until they graduated high school. Pollution levels were estimated for each student’s residential address.

Nonetheless, the study found there was “no significant association between childhood air pollutant exposure and obesity or overweight” in the sample examined.

“However, because there was no significant association between childhood air pollutant exposure and obesity or overweight in this study sample, the mediation effect of food pattern factor scores in the association between air pollutant exposure and obesity could not be examined under a consistent mediation model,” the study stated.

Despite the Obama administration’s generous $4 million grant, the study failed to provide any conclusive “causal relationship” between pollution and childhood obesity and suggested further studies on the matter– studies that will likely cost millions more.

“Future studies are warranted to identify specific air pollutant chemicals that could have a causal effect on altering children’s dietary behavior,” the study said.

“The study was able to identify a correlation between pollutant exposure and trans fat intake, but as it acknowledges, the finding will have no policy implications due to the Trump administration’s decision to ban trans fats last summer,” Free Beacon reported.

It is likely that the Obama administration hoped to find a connection in order to bolster former First Lady Michelle Obama’s efforts to overhaul school lunches and fight childhood obesity.


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