Association of the Haze and Diabetes in China

Curr Diabetes Rev. 2021;17(1):11-20. doi: 10.2174/1573399816666200109095511.


Background: China, as the largest developing country in the world, has experienced rapid economic development during the past decades. As a side effect of the rapid growth of Chinese economy, air pollution in the form of haze is harmful to human health.

Introduction: China is also one of the countries with the highest prevalence of diabetes in Asia and has the largest burden of diabetes in the world. Recent evidence suggests a positive correlation between air pollution and the increased risk of diabetes. However, the association of haze with diabetes is still unclear.

Methods: Based upon literature searching with PubMed, the information on haze and prevalence of diabetes in different cities or provinces of China is summarized. The possible association of haze with diabetes and the perspectives of haze research particularly in the prevention of haze in China are then discussed.

Results: The exposure of long-term air pollution such as haze reduces insulin-dependent glucose uptake, leading to insulin resistance; damages beta cell function, leading to decreased insulin secretion, and promotes subcutaneous fat accumulation. Pathophysiological effects of particulate matters in diabetes through inflammation and oxidative stress were evidenced by several epidemiological and experimental studies.

Conclusion: A better understanding of the incidence of diabetes caused by haze exposure may facilitate policy development in air pollution prevention and intervention design in diabetes prevention. Continuous improvement in air quality may help to reduce diabetes prevalence in China.

Keywords: Air; diabetes; environment; haze; mechanism; perspective.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants* / adverse effects
  • Air Pollutants* / analysis
  • Asia
  • China / epidemiology
  • Cities
  • Diabetes Mellitus* / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus* / etiology
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Humans


  • Air Pollutants