Ambient air pollution exposure and obesity-related traits in Korean adults

Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes. 2019 Aug 9;12:1365-1377. doi: 10.2147/DMSO.S208115. eCollection 2019.


Purpose: Although some studies have tried to determine the impact of long-term air pollution exposure on obesity, they have mainly focused on body mass index (BMI) and the results are inconsistent. Therefore, we investigated the association of annual ambient air pollution exposure with various obesity traits, including computed tomography-measured abdominal fatness, in a large Korean adult population.

Patients and methods: A total of 5,114 participants who underwent routine health check-ups at Seoul National University Hospital were included in the analysis. We calculated the annual average concentrations of ambient air pollutants, such as particulate matter ≤10 μm in diameter (PM10) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), using the individual's zip code. Obesity-related indicators included the BMI, waist circumference (WC), percent body fat (PBF), total adipose tissue (TAT), visceral adipose tissue (VAT), and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT).

Results: The mean age of the population was 53.5 and 70.9% were men. The mean annual concentrations of PM10 and NO2 were 49.4 μg/m3 and 30.3 ppb, respectively. In the full covariates model, adjusted for demographic and clinical variables, interquartile range increase in annual average concentration of PM10 and NO2 was not associated with any obesity-related phenotypes including BMI, WC, PBF, TAT, VAT, and SAT (all P>0.05). Likewise, no significant association between air pollutants and obesity-related traits was observed in any subgroups, stratified by sex and age (all P>0.05).

Conclusion: Annual exposure to ambient air pollution is not associated with any obesity-related traits in Korean adults.

Keywords: abdominal adiposity; air; matter; obesity; particulate; pollution.