Gender-specific Differences of Interaction Between Obesity and Air Pollution on Stroke and Cardiovascular Diseases in Chinese Adults From a High Pollution Range Area: A Large Population Based Cross Sectional Study

Sci Total Environ. 2015 Oct 1;529:243-8. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.05.041. Epub 2015 May 26.


Background: Little information exists regarding the interaction effects of obesity with long-term air pollution exposure on cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and stroke in areas of high pollution. The aim of the present study is to examine whether obesity modifies CVD-related associations among people living in an industrial province of northeast China.

Methods: We studied 24,845 Chinese adults, aged 18 to 74 years old, from three Northeastern Chinese cities in 2009 utilizing a cross-sectional study design. Body weight and height were measured by trained observers. Overweight and obesity were defined as a body mass index (BMI) between 25-29.9 and ≥30 kg/m(2), respectively. Prevalence rate and related risk factors of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases were investigated by a questionnaire. Three-year (2006-2008) average concentrations of particulate matter (PM10), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxides (NO2), and ozone (O3) were measured by fixed monitoring stations. All the participants lived within 1 km of air monitoring sites. Two-level logistic regression (personal level and district-specific pollutant level) was used to examine these effects, controlling for covariates.

Results: We observed significant interactions between exposure and obesity on CVDs and stroke. The associations between annual pollutant concentrations and CVDs and stroke were strongest in obese subjects (OR 1.15-1.47 for stroke, 1.33-1.59 for CVDs), less strong in overweight subjects (OR 1.22-1.35 for stroke, 1.07-1.13 for CVDs), and weakest in normal weight subjects (OR ranged from 0.98-1.01 for stroke, 0.93-1.15 for CVDs). When stratified by gender, these interactions were significant only in women.

Conclusions: Study findings indicate that being overweight and obese may enhance the effects of air pollution on the prevalence of CVDs and stroke in Northeastern metropolitan China. Further studies will be needed to investigate the temporality of BMI relative to exposure and onset of disease.

Keywords: Air pollution; Cardiovascular diseases; Interaction effect; Obesity; Stroke.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Air Pollutants / analysis
  • Air Pollution / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • China
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nitrogen Dioxide / analysis
  • Obesity
  • Ozone / analysis
  • Particulate Matter / analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Stroke / epidemiology*
  • Sulfur Dioxide / analysis
  • Young Adult


  • Air Pollutants
  • Particulate Matter
  • Sulfur Dioxide
  • Ozone
  • Nitrogen Dioxide