Population-Based Study of Traffic-Related Air Pollution and Obesity in Mexican Americans

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2020 Feb;28(2):412-420. doi: 10.1002/oby.22697. Epub 2019 Dec 3.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess the cross-sectional association between residential exposure to traffic-related air pollution and obesity in Mexican American adults.

Methods: A total of 7,826 self-reported Mexican Americans aged 20 to 60 years old were selected from the baseline survey of the MD Anderson Mano-a-Mano Mexican American Cohort. Concentrations of traffic-related particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter < 2.5 μm were modeled at geocoded residential addresses using a dispersion models. The residential proximity to the nearest major road was calculated using a Geographic Information System. Linear and logistic regression models were used to estimate the adjusted associations between exposure and obesity, defined as BMI ≥ 30.

Results: More than half (53.6%) of the study participants had BMI ≥ 30, with a higher prevalence in women (55.0%) than in men (48.8%). Overall higher traffic-related air pollution exposures were associated with lower BMI in men but higher BMI in women. By stratifying for those who lived in a 0- to 1,500-m road buffer, the one-interquartile-range (685.1 m) increase of distance to a major road had a significant association with a 0.58-kg/m2 lower BMI (95% CI: -0.92 to -0.24) in women.

Conclusions: Exposure to intensive traffic is associated with increased risk of obesity in Mexican American women.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects
  • Air Pollutants / analysis
  • Air Pollution / adverse effects
  • Air Pollution / analysis*
  • Air Pollution / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mexican Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / chemically induced
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / ethnology
  • Particulate Matter / adverse effects
  • Particulate Matter / analysis
  • Prevalence
  • Traffic-Related Pollution / adverse effects
  • Traffic-Related Pollution / analysis*
  • Traffic-Related Pollution / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult


  • Air Pollutants
  • Particulate Matter