How fattening is the air your kids are breathing?
New research from Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health has found that prenatal air pollution exposure might put your children at greater risk for childhood obesity.
The study tracked more than 700 moms-to-be and found that pregnant moms exposed to the highest concentrations of polycyclic aromatic compounds (PAHS) were more than twice as likely to have obese children by age 7 compared to those who were exposed to lower levels of pollutants. PAH is a byproduct of diesel fuel exhaust, cigarette smoke and oil furnace fumes.
The researchers took into account other factors that could contribute to obesity such as household income and neighborhood poverty. They also ruled out the effects of household smoking and proximity to busy roads.
The researchers measured the women's pollutant exposure via backpacks with air pumps that the women wore for two days during the latter part of their pregnancies.
These findings confirm previous animal studies that showed that PAHs inhibit the release of fat by fat cells.