Exposure to Air Pollution in Pregnancy may Bost Chances of Obesity in Kids


Air Pollution can have several different effects on a person’s health. When pregnant women are exposed to a lot of air pollution during their pregnancy, their children are more likely to be obese. Andrew Rundle studied air pollution and how environmental chemicals (disruptors), compounds including BPA, phthalates and parabens, can be a determining factory in a child’s body weight. Endocrine disruptors mimic natural hormones such as estrogen interfere with the developmental and metabolic functions. These disruptors can be found in air pollution.

Rundle tracked the air pollution exposure of 702 women in their third trimester. He measured levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) which are endocrine disturbing chemicals usually found in smoke from cigarettes and car exhaust. It was found that children who had been exposed to the highest PAH levels during the third trimester of pregnancy had a 79% higher chance at becoming obese rather than children exposed to the lowest PAH levels. It was also found that by the age of seven years the risk was over 2.25 times greater.

Air pollution has also been linked to an increased risk of hearth disease and stroke. Rundle also showed that PAH exposure during pregnancy also increases the risk that children between the ages of five and seven years will have behavioral problems. By linking air pollution and childhood obesity Rundle has shown that environmental chemicals play a role in a huge health epidemic. He showed that PAHs can cause obesity by disturbing the way that fat cells are formed and developed during childhood. It can also interfere with the development of fat cells during infancy thus leading to an increase in fat cells from a young age.

Renee Dobrinsky

Topic: Atmosphere and Air Pollution

Source: Exposure to Air Pollution in Pregnancy May Boost Chances of Obesity in Kids (April 2012) by Alice Park Time Healthland

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