Children who move to areas with more air pollution are likely to gain weight, finds a study of 46,644 children aged from two to 17.
All the children in the analysis had moved once between 2011 and 2018. The researchers found a small increase in the BMI of children who moved to more polluted areas. The effect was strongest in pre-school and primary school children.
The link is not understood, but could include many factors such as oxidative stress, inflammation of adipose tissue, reduced glucose uptake, hormonal disruption, metabolism changes, reduced lung function, or heavy traffic discouraging outside play.
Further findings showed reduced BMI in children who moved to an area with similar pollution levels as before, and no change in those who moved to areas with reduced levels.
Martine Vrijheid of ISGlobal said that the findings ‘provide further evidence for reducing air pollution levels, in addition to other community interventions, to prevent childhood obesity.’
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