Association of childhood obesity with maternal exposure to ambient air polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons during pregnancy

Am J Epidemiol. 2012 Jun 1;175(11):1163-72. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwr455. Epub 2012 Apr 13.

Abstract

There are concerns that prenatal exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals increases children's risk of obesity. African-American and Hispanic children born in the Bronx or Northern Manhattan, New York (1998-2006), whose mothers underwent personal air monitoring for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) exposure during pregnancy, were followed up to ages 5 (n = 422) and 7 (n = 341) years. At age 5 years, 21% of the children were obese, as were 25% of those followed to age 7 years. After adjustment for child's sex, age at measurement, ethnicity, and birth weight and maternal receipt of public assistance and prepregnancy obesity, higher prenatal PAH exposures were significantly associated with higher childhood body size. In adjusted analyses, compared with children of mothers in the lowest tertile of PAH exposure, children of mothers in the highest exposure tertile had a 0.39-unit higher body mass index z score (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.08, 0.70) and a relative risk of 1.79 (95% CI: 1.09, 2.96) for obesity at age 5 years, and they had a 0.30-unit higher body mass index z score (95% CI: 0.01, 0.59), a 1.93-unit higher percentage of body fat (95% CI: 0.33, 3.54), and a relative risk of 2.26 (95% CI: 1.28, 4.00) for obesity at age 7 years. The data indicate that prenatal exposure to PAHs is associated with obesity in childhood.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Americans
  • Air Pollutants / analysis
  • Air Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Air Pollution / adverse effects*
  • Air Pollution / analysis
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dominican Republic / ethnology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • New York City
  • Obesity / chemically induced*
  • Obesity / ethnology
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / analysis
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / toxicity*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / chemically induced*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Young Adult

Substances

  • Air Pollutants
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons