Children are at a higher risk of obesity in urban areas with high levels of air pollution

Researchers with the Barcelona Institute for Global Health included more than 2,200 young participants between the age of 9 and 12 as part of a study of air pollution and pediatric health.


“Urban environments are characterised by many factors that may influence children’s lifestyle and increase the risk of childhood obesity, but multiple urban exposures have scarcely been studied,” the study states.

“We evaluated the association between multiple urban exposures and childhood obesity outcomes and weight-related behaviours.”

According to Environmental International, the young participants took part in two projects.

In the study, researchers measured body mass index, waist circumference, and body fat.

The findings showed that as many as 40 percent of children were considered to be overweight or obese.

“This systematic study of many exposures in the urban environment suggests that an exposure pattern characterised by higher levels of ambient air pollution, road traffic and road traffic noise is associated with increased childhood obesity risk and that PMcoarse, land use mix and food environment are separately associated with obesity risk,” researchers determined in their study.

“These findings require follow-up in longitudinal studies and different settings.”

Image courtesy of Hindustan Times via Getty Images
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