Demographic issues could explain link between air pollution and type 2 diabetes risk

Jack Woodfield
Fri, 30 Jun 2017
Demographic issues could explain link between air pollution and type 2 diabetes risk
Where people live and their income could explain why there is a link between air pollution and type 2 diabetes, researchers have said.

Air pollution has long shared a link to increased rates of type 2 diabetes, but scientists have been unaware as to why this is the case.

A team led by the University of Leicester looked at data taken from diabetes screening studies of 10,443 people across Leicestershire as part of the CHAMPIONS study.

Exposure to air pollution was evaluated over three years, with assessments including an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), demographic factors such as age, sex and ethnicity and lifestyle factors such as BMI and physical activity.

Not only was air pollution linked to an increased rate of type 2 diabetes development, but demographic factors largely explained the association between air pollution and type 2 diabetes, according to the researchers.

Dr Gary O'Donovan, who led the CHAMPIONS study, said: "While original results suggested association between air pollution and associated particulates and type 2 diabetes, when the effects of lifestyle and demographic factors were considered, and given the limited size of the sample, evidence for direct association with air pollution was inconclusive."

Co-author Professor Roland Leigh said: "We know that air pollution is the world's largest environmental health risk affecting 92 per cent of the population and associated with more than three million deaths per year, and evidence suggested it may contribute to the rise in type 2 diabetes.

"We will, however, continue to apply cutting-edge air quality research to unpick potentially connected long-term exposure factors. As innovators in air quality monitoring, the University of Leicester and EarthSense has a fundamental contribution to make in the understanding of the complex issues of pollution exposure and health."

The findings have been published in the Environment International journal.
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