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Air Pollution Adversely Linked to Body Composition in Women

Weaker associations seen for PM2.5 and NO2 with body composition in participants who engaged in more physical activity

MONDAY, Oct. 31, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Exposure to air pollution is adversely associated with body composition in women, according to a study published online Sept. 9 in Diabetes Care.

Xin Wang, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the University of Michigan School of Public Health in Ann Arbor, and colleagues examined longitudinal associations of air pollution exposure with weight, body mass index, waist circumference, fat mass, lean mass, and proportion fat mass in 1,654 White, Black, Chinese, and Japanese midlife women (baseline median age, 49.6 years) followed from 2000 to 2008.

The researchers found that an interquartile range increase in fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentration (4.5 µ/m3) correlated with an increase of 4.53 percent in fat mass, 1.10 percent higher proportion fat mass, and 0.39 percent lower lean mass after adjustment for potential confounders. For nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and ozone, similar associations were seen. In participants who engaged in more physical activity, weaker associations of PM2.5 and NO2 were seen with body composition.

“Our findings suggest that air pollution may contribute to midlife women’s adiposity through its impact on fat and lean mass changes,” the authors write. “We found that the adverse effects of air pollution on body composition could be mitigated by higher physical activity levels.”

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