Effects of ambient particulate matter on fasting blood glucose among primary school children in Guangzhou, China

Environ Res. 2019 Sep;176:108541. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2019.108541. Epub 2019 Jun 18.


Background: Exposure to ambient particulate matter (PM) has been linked with diabetes and elevated blood glucose in adults. However, there are few reports on the effects of PM on fasting blood glucose (FBG) among children.

Objectives: The study aimed to assess the associations between medium-term exposure of ambient particles with diameters ≤2.5 μm (PM2.5), and ≤10 μm (PM10) and FBG in a general population of children, and also to explore the modifying effects of diet.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, we enrolled 4234 children (aged 6-13 years) residing in Guangzhou, China, in 2017. Individual PM2.5 and PM10 exposures during the 186-day period before each physical examination were retrospectively estimated by an inverse distance weighting interpolation and time-weighted approach according to their home address, school address, and activity patterns. Linear mixed effect models were used to examine the relationships between PM2.5 and PM10 with FBG after adjusting for covariates.

Results: We found that per 10 μg/m3 increase in PM2.5 and PM10 levels during the 186-day period were associated with 2.3% (95% CI: 1.0%, 3.8%) higher FBG and 0.9% (95% CI: 0.5%, 1.4%) higher FBG, respectively. Stronger effect estimates were observed among subgroups of children with a family history of diabetes, and higher intake of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs). Also, we found significant interactions between PM2.5 concentration and family history of diabetes and SSBs intake on FBG.

Conclusions: Medium-term exposure to ambient PM2.5 and PM10 were associated with higher FBG levels in children, and that higher SSBs intake might modify these associations.

Keywords: Air pollution; Blood glucose; Children; Diet; Effect modification.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Air Pollutants*
  • Air Pollution / statistics & numerical data*
  • Blood Glucose*
  • Child
  • China
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Fasting
  • Humans
  • Particulate Matter
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Air Pollutants
  • Blood Glucose
  • Particulate Matter