Background: Air pollution may promote type 2 diabetes by increasing adipose inflammation and insulin resistance. This study examined the relation between long-term exposure to traffic-related air pollution and type 2 diabetes prevalence among 50- to 75-year-old subjects living in Westfriesland, the Netherlands.
Methods: Participants were recruited in a cross-sectional diabetes screening-study conducted between 1998 and 2000. Exposure to traffic-related air pollution was characterized at the participants' home-address. Indicators of exposure were land use regression modeled nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentration, distance to the nearest main road, traffic flow at the nearest main road and traffic in a 250 m circular buffer. Crude and age-, gender- and neighborhood income adjusted associations were examined by logistic regression.
Results: 8,018 participants were included, of whom 619 (8%) subjects had type 2 diabetes. Smoothed plots of exposure versus type 2 diabetes supported some association with traffic in a 250 m buffer (the highest three quartiles compared to the lowest also showed increased prevalence, though non-significant and not increasing with increasing quartile), but not with the other exposure metrics. Modeled NO2-concentration, distance to the nearest main road and traffic flow at the nearest main road were not associated with diabetes. Exposure-response relations seemed somewhat more pronounced for women than for men (non-significant).
Conclusions: We did not find consistent associations between type 2 diabetes prevalence and exposure to traffic-related air pollution, though there were some indications for a relation with traffic in a 250 m buffer.