Feel like you’re gaining weight out of thin air? You might just be, according to new research. While unhealthy diets and not exercising regularly can lead to packing on unwanted pounds, a new study from the University of Michigan suggests a surprising factor that can also add to women’s weight, body mass index, waist size and body fat - air pollution.
It finds that long-term exposure to air pollution is linked to women gaining weight - especially those in their late 40s and 50s. The study tracked over 1,600 white, black, Chinese, and Japanese women with an average age of 50 for a period of eight years and found those who were exposed to poor air quality saw increases in their body size. Women who experienced exposure to air pollution - specifically higher levels of fine particles, nitrogen dioxide and ozone - saw increases in their body size, according to study author Xin Wang.
The womens’ residential addresses were used to measure the relative air pollution near their homes and researchers examined the associations between the pollution and the womens’ body size and composition measures. They found exposure to air pollution is linked to higher body fat, higher proportion fat and lower lean mass for middle-aged women. Their body fat increased by 4.5%, or about 2.6 pounds, the research shows. One limitation to the study? Since it focused on women in midlife, the findings can’t be generalized to men or women in other age groups.
Source: NY Post