Traffic-Related Air Pollution and Child BMI-A Study of Prenatal Exposure to Nitrogen Oxides and Body Mass Index in Children at the Age of Four Years in Malmö, Sweden

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 Oct 19;15(10):2294. doi: 10.3390/ijerph15102294.


Traffic-related air pollution could be a danger to the health of children. Earlier studies have linked prenatal exposure to an increased risk of a range of diseases and negative health outcomes, including overweight and obesity. Presently, a knowledge gap exists in investigating the risk of overweight and obesity among children exposed to lower levels of air pollution in utero. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between prenatal traffic-related air pollution (nitrogen dioxides (NOx) and traffic density) and childhood overweight and obesity in Malmö, Sweden. A cohort, based on attendance of a four-year check-up examination at Swedish Child Health Care (CHC) centers, and a parent-assessed questionnaire provided data on body-mass index adjusted for four-year-old children (ISO-BMI) as well as socioeconomic and health variables. We estimated exposure by using traffic density and levels of NOx at the maternal geocoded residential level. Analysis of 5815 children was performed using binary logistic regression models. This study showed no associations of increased risk for childhood overweight or obesity through to prenatal exposure to NOx in this low-exposure setting. We further suggest analysis of risks related to exposure levels ranging between the ones presented here and those proposed in previous literature.

Keywords: air pollution; children; nitrogen oxides; obesity; overweight.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Nitrogen Oxides / analysis*
  • Overweight / chemically induced
  • Overweight / epidemiology*
  • Pediatric Obesity / chemically induced
  • Pediatric Obesity / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / chemically induced
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Traffic-Related Pollution / analysis*
  • Vehicle Emissions / analysis*


  • Air Pollutants
  • Nitrogen Oxides
  • Vehicle Emissions