Childhood exposure to ambient air pollution and obesity



by LORENZO CIOTTI

Childhood exposure to ambient air pollution and obesity

Obesity is a rampant problem, not only in the US and UK, but in many industrialized countries, where the choice and abundance of food lead to health and social problems. Obesity is the leading preventable cause of death worldwide, with increasing prevalence in adults and children, and is considered one of the most serious public health problems of the 21st century.

It is stigmatized in much of the modern world, particularly in Western civilization, even if in some historical moments it has been perceived as a symbol of wealth and fertility, as it still is in some regions of the globe.

Excessive body weight is associated with several diseases, in particular cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus, obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, some types of cancer and osteoarthritis. Therefore obesity is the cause of a reduction in life expectancy.

The Association between Childhood Exposure to Ambient Air Pollution and Obesity: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, research published on the International journal of environmental research and public health, explained: "Obesity has become a worldwide epidemic; 340 million of children and adolescents were overweight or obese in 2016, and this number continues to grow at a rapid rate.

Epidemiological research has suggested that air pollution affects childhood obesity and weight status, but the current evidence remains inconsistent.Therefore, the aim of this meta-analysis was to estimate the effects of childhood exposure to air pollutants on weight.

A total of four databases were searched for publications up to December 31, 2021, and finally 15 studies met the inclusion criteria for meta-analysis.Merged odds ratios (ORs), coefficients (β), and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) that were related to air pollutants were estimated using a random-effects model.

The meta-analysis indicated that air pollutants were correlated with childhood obesity and weight gain.In summary, air pollution can be regarded as a probable risk factor for the weight status of children and adolescents.The next step is to cond uct longer-term and large-scale studies on different population subgroups, exposure concentrations, and pollutant combinations to provide detailed evidence. Meanwhile, integrated management of air pollution is essential."