Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Does Traffic-related Air Pollution Cause Teenage Obesity?

English: These children, playing in a public s...
English: These children, playing in a public space, vary in their proportion of body fat. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A Longitudinal Cohort Study of Body Mass Index and Childhood Exposure to Secondhand Tobacco Smoke and Air Pollution: The Southern California Children’s Health Study (30 page pdf, Rob McConnell, Ernest Shen, Frank D. Gilliland, Michael Jerrett, Jennifer Wolch, Chih-Chieh Chang, Frederick Lurmann, and Kiros Berhane, Environemntla Health Perspectives, Nov. 12, 2014) 

Also discussed here: Tobacco smoke, roadway air pollution linked to childhood obesity (Science Daily, Nov. 12, 2014) 

Today we review research based on following the weights of several hundred children through their adolescence (from age 10 to 18) and their exposure to second hand smoke and to proximity to air pollution from nearby traffic. The link between smoking by pregnant mothers (in uterus exposure) has long been known to have an impact on the obesity of the child in later life. The researchers conclude that adding exposure to traffic pollution caused a weight gain equivalent to a 6.6% and all of the side effects that go with obesity, including high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure etc. 

Key Quotes: 

Childhood obesity has doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years…. Obese youth are more likely to suffer from health challenges, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, bone and joint problems, social stigmatization and self-esteem problems” 

“The study ….shows increased weight gain during adolescence in children exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke or near-roadway air pollution, compared to children with no exposure to either of these air pollutants.” 

"Vehicle miles traveled, exposure to some components of the near-roadway air pollutant mixture, and near roadway residential development have increased across the United States over the last several decades corresponding to the epidemic of childhood obesity" 

“The 2 kg/m2 associated with the combination of SHS [secondhand smoke]with high NRP [near roadway pollution] exposures at age 18 (compared with low NRP and no SHS) were almost half the standard deviation of 5.1. A 2-kg/m2 relative increase in attained BMI is equivalent to a 6 kg (6.6%) increase in body weight in an adult male who is 1.78 m tall and weighs 95 Kg (BMI 30).”

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