Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Epidemiology and Biostatistics

First Committee Member

Ann Vuong

Second Committee Member

Courtney Coughenour

Third Committee Member

Sheniz Moonie

Fourth Committee Member

Kara Radzak

Number of Pages



Background: Toxicology studies of rats and mice have shown evidence that neonicotinoids may be associated with adiposity via disruptions in thyroid hormone homeostasis and potentiating oxidative stress. Epidemiological studies have shown mixed results with respect to the association between neonicotinoids and adiposity.

Objective: To examine the association between detectable concentrations of neonicotinoids (imidacloprid, acetamiprid, clothianidin, 5 hydroxy-imidacloprid, and N-desmethyl-acetamiprid) and adiposity among US adults and whether there are sex differences in the association.

Methods: Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2015-2016 was used. Weighted linear regression estimated the associations between detectable neonicotinoids and fat mass index [FMI], lean mass index [LMI], waist circumference, body fat percentage, and body mass index [BMI]. Weighted logistic regression estimated odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for detectable neonicotinoids and being overweight or obese. Sexual dimorphism in the association between detectable neonicotinoids and adiposity was explored with the inclusion of product terms between neonicotinoids and sex (pint<0.10).

Results: Detectable levels of acetamiprid were associated with a decrease in FMI (β=-3.33 kg/m2, 95% CI [-5.31, -1.36]), LMI (β=-3.36 kg/m2, 95% CI [-5.63, -1.09]), body fat percentage (β=-4.57, 95% CI [-8.73, -0.40]), waist circumference (β=-10.62 cm, 95% CI [-20.57, -0.68]), and BMI (β=-4.25 kg/m2, 95% CI [-7.57, -0.92]) among adults. Detectable levels of 5-hydroxyimidacloprid were associated with greater odds of being overweight or obese (OR=1.53, 95% CI [1.17, 1.99]). 5-hydroxy-imidacloprid had a positive association with LMI (β=0.65 kg/m2), 95% CI [0.06, 1.24]). A significant positive association (pint = 0.090) was observed between detectable urinary N desmethyl-acetamiprid and LMI among males (β = 1.05 kg/m2, 95% CI [0.22, 1.87]), while a null association was observed in females (β = 0.10 kg/m2, 95% CI [-0.84, 1.05]). Additionally, there was a significant inverse association (pint=0.058) between acetamiprid and BMI among males only with a nearly 7 kg/m2 decrease in BMI (95% CI [-10.62, -2.58]) associated with detectable levels of acetamiprid in urine.

Conclusion: Detectable concentrations of acetamiprid were inversely associated with adiposity. There were mixed findings for 5-hydroxy imidacloprid which had a positive association with LMI and being overweight or obese. Findings suggest that there are sex differences in the associations between neonicotinoids and adiposity, though results are not clear with regard to directionality of the association by sex.


Adiposity; Adults; Neonicotinoids; USA


Public Health

File Format


File Size

1628 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




IN COPYRIGHT. For more information about this rights statement, please visit

Available for download on Friday, December 15, 2028

Included in

Public Health Commons