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Air Pollution Exposure, Diabetes Mortality Linked

Environ Res; 2018 Aug; Lim, Hayes, Ahn, et al

Long-term exposure to atmospheric particle matter (PM2.5) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), but not ground-level ozone (O3), is related to increased risk of diabetes mortality in the US, a recent study found, with attenuation of adverse effects by lower body mass index (BMI) and higher fruit consumption, suggesting that air pollution is involved in the etiology and/or control of diabetes. Researchers assessed the effects of long-term ambient air pollution exposures on diabetes mortality in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, a cohort of approximately a half million subjects across the contiguous US. Associations between the air pollutants and the risk of diabetes mortality (n=3,598) were evaluated using multivariate Cox proportional hazards models adjusted for both individual-level and census-level contextual covariates. They found:

  • Diabetes mortality was significantly associated with increasing levels of both PM2.5 and NO2.
  • The strength of the relationship was robust to alternate exposure assessments and model specifications.
  • There was also a significant effect modification, with elevated mortality risks observed among those with higher BMI and lower levels of fruit consumption.

Citation:

Lim CC, Hayes RB, Ahn J, et al. Association between long-term exposure to ambient air pollution and diabetes mortality in the US. Environ Res. 2018;165:330-336. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2018.04.011.

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