Residential Proximity to Major Roadways, Fine Particulate Matter, and Adiposity: The Framingham Heart Study

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2016 Dec;24(12):2593-2599. doi: 10.1002/oby.21630. Epub 2016 Nov 2.


Objective: Higher traffic-related air pollution has been associated with higher body mass index (BMI) among children. However, few studies have assessed the associations among adults.

Methods: Participants (N = 2,372) from the Framingham Offspring and Third Generation cohorts who underwent multidetector-computed tomography scans (2002-2005) were included. Residential-based proximity to the nearest major roadway and 1-year average levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5 ) air pollution were estimated. BMI was measured at Offspring examination 7 (1998-2001) and Third Generation examination 1 (2002-2005); subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) and visceral adipose tissue (VAT) were measured using multidetector-computed tomography. Linear regression models were used for continuous BMI, SAT, and VAT and logistic models for the binary indicator of obesity (BMI ≥30 kg/m2 ), adjusting for demographic variables, individual- and area-level measures of socioeconomic position, and clinical and lifestyle factors.

Results: Participants who lived 60 m from a major roadway had 0.37 kg/m2 higher BMI (95% CI: 0.10 to 0.65 kg/m2 ), 78.4 cm3 higher SAT (95% CI: 4.5 to 152.3 cm3 ), and 41.8 cm3 higher VAT (95% CI: -4.7 to 88.2 cm3 ) than those who lived 440 m away.

Conclusions: Living closer to a major roadway was associated with higher overall and abdominal adiposity.

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity
  • Adult
  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat
  • Linear Models
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / etiology*
  • Particulate Matter / adverse effects*
  • Subcutaneous Fat*


  • Air Pollutants
  • Particulate Matter