Air Pollution Can Make You Fat

I often come across studies about the negative health impacts of air pollution.  I recently learned about one such study that is particularly troubling. 

A study published last year found that mice exposed to particulate matter 2.5—a kind of air pollution released by diesel engines, coal-fired power plants, and many other sources—had more abdominal fat and insulin resistance, even if they ate a normal diet.  The mice exposed to air pollution had larger and more fat cells in their belly area and higher blood sugar levels than mice eating the same diet but breathing clean air.  These negative impacts can increase the risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 

We already know that air pollution, and in particular, the type of pollution in this study (tiny particulates that are 2.5 microns or smaller) increases the risk of having asthma, triggers asthma attacks, and increases cancer risks.  Now we are learning that it is linked to obesity and diabetes too.

There is no doubt that a healthy diet and regular exercise is important to staying healthy.  But it is maddening that folks living near industries, ports, railyards, truck routes, and highways emitting particulate matter 2.5 face an additional major hurdle to being healthy, just by breathing the air.

Read more about the study here and here.