written by Sarah Howard
Coordinator of the Diabetes-Obesity Spectrum Working Group
Two studies published this month provided strong support for the idea that air pollution may cause weight gain, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome.
In the first study, pregnant rats exposed to Beijing’s air gained significantly more weight during pregnancy than those breathing filtered air. Their offspring (exposed pre- and postnatally) were also significantly heavier at 8 weeks of age.
In the second study, Mexican Americans living in Southern California exposed to ambient air pollutants had lower glucose tolerance, higher insulin resistance, and adverse blood lipid concentrations. According to the authors, “the magnitudes of effect from a 1-[standard deviation] difference of [fine particulate matter] on metabolic outcomes were similar compared with the impact of a 1-unit change in percent body fat or [body mass index] BMI on the same metabolic outcomes.”