Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Environ Int. 2014 May;66:115-23. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2014.01.028. Epub 2014 Feb 23.

What is the role of obesity in the aetiology of arsenic-related disease?

Author information

  • 1Population Cancer Research Program and Department of Pediatrics, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 4R2, Canada.
  • 2Department of Chemistry, Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, B4P 2R6, Canada.
  • 3Population Cancer Research Program and Department of Pediatrics, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 4R2, Canada. Electronic address:


Consumption of arsenic contaminated drinking water causes a large variety of adverse health outcomes. Body mass index (BMI), which is linked to diet, is positively associated with arsenic methylation capacity. We investigated the association between an obesity-related diet and arsenic body burden from exposure to naturally contaminated drinking water among Nova Scotia residents. We collected home drinking water and toenail clipping samples among 960 men and women aged 35 to 69 years in Nova Scotia, Canada from 2009 through 2010. We measured body composition and arsenic concentrations in drinking water and toenails clipping samples and collected socio-demographic, behavioural, and dietary information via standardized questionnaires. We derived an obesity-related dietary pattern score using reduced rank regression. Across quartiles of the obesity-related dietary pattern score there were no significant differences in drinking water arsenic concentrations, but there was an inverse trend in arsenic concentrations in toenails across the dietary pattern score (P=0.01). Compared with individuals in the first quartile of the dietary pattern score, those in the second through fourth quartiles had decreased likelihoods of high toenail arsenic (≥ 85 percentile). The corresponding odds ratios (95% confidence intervals [CI]) were 0.81 (95% CI, 0.49, 1.36), 0.57 (95% CI, 0.33, 0.99), and 0.55 (95% CI, 0.31, 0.98), respectively (P for trend=0.02). We conclude that given similar levels of naturally occurring arsenic exposure via drinking water, an obesity-related dietary pattern was associated with significantly lower arsenic concentrations in toenails. Further studies to investigate the underlining mechanisms are warranted.

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Arsenic; Body burden; Body weight; Dietary pattern; Drinking water; Toenails

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk