Friday, May 24, 2013

The Impact of Proximity to Traffic on Birth Outcomes

Residential proximity to major roads and adverse birth outcomes: a hospital-based study (26 page pdf, Takashi Yorifuji, Hiroo Naruse, Saori Kashima, Soshi Takao, Takeshi Murakoshi, Hiroyuki Doi and Ichiro Kawachi, Environmental Health, Apr. 18, 2013)

Today we review research into the link between proximity to heavy traffic and low birth weight or preterm birth for a perinatal hospital located in Shizuoka, Japan. The results confirmed the association with proximity to high levels of air pollution as well as the influence of a second factor, low income (termed as low socio-economic position) which has also been shown to be significant.

Newborn child, seconds after birth. The umbili... 
Newborn child, seconds after birth. The umbilical cord has not yet been cut. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Key Quotes:

“Evidence has accumulated on the association between air pollution and adverse birth outcomes, such as preterm birth or low birth weight”
“Major roads were defined as those having total vehicle counts greater than 50,000 per 24 hours on a weekday”

“Living within 200 m from a major road increased the risk of preterm birth by 1.5 times… and LBW by 1.2 times”

Preterm births and LBW [low birth weight]were observed more often in areas closer to major roads. Additionally, younger and older mothers tended to experience more adverse birth outcomes, especially for term LBW”
“We observed that mothers from lower individual SEP[social economic position], defined by household occupation, had higher effect estimates for term LBW compared with mothers with higher individual SEP.”

“we found that maternal diabetic and hypertensive status modified the relationship between air pollution and preterm birth.”
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