Combined effects of air pollution in adulthood and famine exposure in early life on type 2 diabetes

Wenqian Huo, Jian Hou, Luting Nie, Zhenxing Mao, Xiaotian Liu, Gongbo Chen, Hao Xiang, Shanshan Li, Yuming Guo, Chongjian Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Famine exposure or air pollution is linked to type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). However, their combined effects on T2DM remain largely unknown. A total of 11,640 individuals were obtained from the Henan Rural Cohort Study. According to their birthdate, participants were divided into three famine exposure subgroups: fetal exposed, childhood exposed, and unexposed groups. The air pollutants (particles with aerodynamics diameters ≤ 1.0 µm (PM1), ≤ 2.5 µm, and ≤ 10 µm, and nitrogen dioxide) concentrations of each individual were estimated by a spatiotemporal model. Participants were divided into low or high air pollution exposure groups taking the 1st quartile value of air pollutants as the cut-off point. Logistic regression model was used to analyze independent and joint associations between air pollution exposure, famine exposure, and T2DM. Positive associations of air pollution and famine exposure with T2DM were found. Participants who experienced fetal or childhood famine and also were exposed to high concentrations of any kind of the air pollutants had a much higher risk for T2DM than those with no famine and low air pollutants exposure (taking PM1.0 for example, the odds ratio [OR]: 1.76, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.25, 2.47 for fetal famine, and OR: 1.64, 95%CI: 1.13, 2.40 for childhood famine). After stratified analysis, similar results were observed in women. The results indicated that both famine exposure in early life and air pollution exposure in adulthood are related to increased risk for prevalent T2DM, and they have combined effects on T2DM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37700–37711
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


  • Air pollution
  • Combined effects
  • Famine
  • Particulate matter
  • Rural population
  • Type 2 diabetes

Cite this