Evidence suggests that environmental exposures and socioeconomic factors may interact to produce metabolic changes in children. We assessed the influence of residential location and socioeconomic status (SES) on pediatric body mass index (BMI) Z-score and fasting blood glucose (FBG) concentration. Participants included 214 children aged 6-11 years who live near a large industrial complex in Taranto, Italy. Participants were grouped into residential zones based on the distance between their home address and the complex periphery (Zone 1: 0.000-4.999 km, Zone 2: 5.000-9.999 km, Zone 3: 10.000-15.000 km). BMI Z-scores were calculated via World Health Organization (WHO) pediatric reference curves. FBG was obtained via venous blood sampling. Closer residential location to the industrial complex on the order of 5.000 km was significantly associated with worsened metabolic outcomes, particularly in female children. Zone 1 participants had higher BMI-adjusted FBG than Zone 2 and 3 participants (p < 0.05 versus Zone 2; p < 0.01 versus Zone 3). SES did not significantly influence BMI-adjusted FBG. Moreover, BMI Z-scores indicated high rates of overweight (22.0%) and obesity (22.9%) in the cohort. BMI Z-score was not significantly associated with SES or residential zone but was negatively associated with maternal education level (p < 0.05). These results offer new evidence that residing near industrial activity may predict adverse effects on child metabolic health.
Keywords: BMI; air pollution; blood glucose; body mass index; children; industrial; obesity; residential location; socioeconomic status.