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Air pollution shifts the scales in favour of female obesity

News Agencies | Updated on: 14 October 2022, 18:58 IST

As more individuals consume bad diets and neglect to engage in regular exercise, obesity has become a significant global health concern in recent decades.

According to a recent University of Michigan study, air pollution may also affect women's weight, body mass index, waist circumference, and body fat levels.

According to Xin Wang, epidemiology research investigator at the U-M School of Public Health and the study's first author, women in their late 40s and early 50s exposed over time to air pollution, specifically higher levels of fine particles, nitrogen dioxide, and ozone, experienced increases in their body size and composition measurements.1,654 white, black, Chinese, and Japanese women who participated in the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation provided the data. These women were followed from 2000 to 2008; their baseline median age was nearly 50 years.

By connecting home addresses to hybrid estimates of air pollutant concentrations, annual air pollution exposures were calculated. The researchers looked at the relationships between the subjects' body size and composition measurements and the pollutants.

They were interested in learning whether these relationships varied according to physical activity. In midlife women, exposure to air pollution was associated with reduced lean mass, higher body fat, and higher proportions of fat. For instance, body weight increased by 2.6 pounds, or 4.5%, more body fat.

Researchers looked into the effects of exercise and air pollution on body composition. The study found that high levels of physical activity were an efficient approach to reducing and counteracting exposure to air pollution. This research was based on the frequency, duration, and felt physical intensity of more than 60 exercises.

The results of the study can't be applied to men or women in other age groups because it only looked at midlife women, according to Wang. The results are published in Diabetes Care.

First published: 14 October 2022, 18:58 IST