Traffic and Tobacco Add Pounds

Pollution—whether from tobacco smoke or car fumes—has been linked to obesity.

Researchers in Southern California asked recently whether children exposed to both would have higher rates of obesity. Crunching data on 3318 children enrolled in the Southern California Children’s Health Study, the researchers assessed road pollution exposure through traffic volume, proximity and meteorology. Tobacco exposure was included through parent questionnaire.

Results:

  • Maternal smoking during pregnancy was linked with BMI growth over 8-year follow-up
  • Second hand smoke exposure was associated with BMI growth
  • Compared to controls—children without exposure— children exposed to both high traffic pollution and second hand smoke increased BMI at a higher rate than either alone.

The authors concluded: “Our findings strengthen emerging evidence that exposure to tobacco smoke and NRP contribute to development of childhood obesity and suggest that combined exposures may have synergistic effects.”

Thus, the battle continues. Read more about the research here in Environmental Health Perspectives: A Longitudinal Cohort Study of Body Mass Index and Childhood Exposure to Secondhand Tobacco Smoke and Air Pollution: The Southern California Children’s Health Study.