News from ISGlobal
Exposure to air pollution, particularly at school, could be associated with a higher risk of overweight and obesity during childhood. This is the conclusion of a study by the ISGlobal, performed with 2660 children between 7 and 10 years of age from 39 schools in Barcelona.
A few studies have associated exposure to air pollution with a higher risk of child obesity and overweight. However, these studies focused mainly on exposure at home, without considering the school environment.
The study, published in Environment International and performed under the BREATHE project, assessed for the first time the relation between obesity and overweight risk and air pollution levels at school and home, the two microenvironments where schoolchildren spend most of their time.
On one hand, the research team collected data on the children’s weight and height and calculated their body mass index and obesity and overweight status. On the other hand, they used sensors in the schoolyard to measure the levels of outdoor pollution during one week in summer and another week in winter.
"We observed that children exposed to medium or high levels of air pollution at school had a higher risk of obesity and overweight as compared to those exposed to lower levels", concludes first author Jeroen de Bont.
"To draw more solid conclusions, we need new longitudinal studies that follow the study participants over time”, adds Martine Vrijheid, ISGlobal researcher and study coordinator.
Most children were exposed to air pollution levels above those recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO), both at school and home.
Ambient air pollution and overweight and obesity in school-aged children in Barcelona, Spain. Jeroen de Bont, Maribel Casas, Jose Barrera-Gómeza, Marta Cirach, Ioar Rivas, Damaskini Valvi, Mar Álvarez, Payam Dadvand, Jordi Sunyer, Martine Vrijheid. Environment International. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2019.01.048. January 2019.