The latest generation of humans seems to be destined for a life of obesity. Higher concentrations of chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAH, in the inner urban air supply has been to linked to obesity according to the latest study by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.
The up and coming generation is the first generation in the last 100 years that is expected to have a shorter life span than previous generations. The survey was carried out on pregnant woman in new York City and the findings are… Well pretty scary!
Overall, 17% of children in the United States are obese, and in inner-city neighborhoods, the prevalence is as high as 25%. While poor diets and physical inactivity are the main culprits, there is new evidence that air pollution can play a role.
A study by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health finds that pregnant women in New York City exposed to higher concentrations of chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAH, were more than twice as likely to have children who were obese by age 7 compared with women with lower levels of exposure. PAH, a common urban pollutant, are released into the air from the burning of coal, diesel, oil and gas, or other organic substances such as tobacco.
Results are published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Researchers recruited 702 non-smoking pregnant women through prenatal clinics at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Harlem Hospital. The women were 18-35 years old, identified themselves as either African-American or Dominican, and lived in areas in Northern Manhattan or the South Bronx that are predominantly low income. Over the course of two days during their third trimester, they wore a small backpack equipped to continually sample the surrounding air; at night they placed it near their bed.
Children of women exposed to high levels of PAH during pregnancy were nearly twice as likely (1.79 times) to be obese at age 5, and more than twice as likely (2.26 times) to be obese at age 7, compared with children of mothers with lower levels of exposure. The 7-year-old whose mothers were in the highest exposure group had, on average, 2.4 lbs. more fat mass than children of mothers with the least exposure.
“Not only was their body mass higher, but it was higher due to body fat rather than bone or muscle mass,” says Dr. Rundle.
News Source: News Medical