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Study: Mothers' exposure to air pollution during pregnancy makes their children obese

A study issued by the University of Colorado in the United States revealed that exposure to air pollution during pregnancy leads to an increased risk of obesity in children later in life, according to a report published in the Medical Express website.

The study confirmed that women exposed to higher levels of air pollution during pregnancy give birth to babies who grow unusually fast in the first months after birth, increasing the fat that puts them at risk of obesity and related diseases in the future.


The researchers noted that poor air quality may contribute at least in part to the obesity epidemic, particularly among residents who live in places with more exposure to toxic pollutants. About one in four Hispanic youth in the United States are obese, given their presence In high pollution areas.


The researchers attributed the high rates of obesity among certain population groups to environmental pollution and not just personal choices such as exercise and calories eaten.


Previous research has shown that pregnant women who smoke or are chronically exposed to air pollution tend to have lower birth weight babies, but that by the first year of life, these babies tend to gain weight quickly and become obese, which is linked to diabetes and heart disease.


The study was based on examining the effects that lead to children’s obesity, by examining the child’s growth trajectory and its relationship to air quality and their exposure to nitrogen dioxide, an odorless gas emitted from cars and power plants, and ozone, the main component in smog.


The study found that greater exposure to ambient air pollution before birth was associated with greater changes in weight, obesity, and body fatness during the first six months of life.


The researchers also found that exposure to a mixture of ozone and nitrogen dioxide in the womb was associated with faster growth around the waist in females, while in males it was associated with slower height growth and greater accumulation of fat around the midsection.



The researchers emphasized that these pollutants can inflame the lungs, and thus cause systemic inflammation of the organs, affecting metabolic processes, such as insulin sensitivity, that can affect fetal development.