Traffic pollution can make older people fat

A new study has recently associated the increased levels of obesity-related hormone leptin, among older adults, with the higher exposure to traffic related air pollution.

Washington: A new study has recently associated the increased levels of obesity-related hormone leptin, among older adults, with the higher exposure to traffic related air pollution.

Gregory A. Wellenius, ScD, of Brown University and colleagues analyzed a significant association between exposure to black carbon, a measure of fine-particle air pollution from traffic sources, and leptin levels.

Researchers found that people with higher exposure to black carbon were less likely to be white, had lower incomes, and had higher rates of high blood pressure and diabetes.

Higher levels of leptin, an "inflammatory cytokine," have been linked to increased rates of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

But even after adjustment for these differences, average leptin levels were 27 percent higher for older adults in the highest category of black carbon exposure.

An alternative measure of exposure to traffic-related pollution,residential distance to the nearest major roadway, was unrelated to leptin levels.

Study concluded the emerging evidence suggested that certain sources of traffic pollution might be associated with adverse cardiometabolic effects.

The study is published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

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