Interactions between ambient air pollution and obesity on lung function in children: The Seven Northeastern Chinese Cities (SNEC) Study

Xiumei Xing, Liwen Hu, Yuming Guo, Michael S. Bloom, Shanshan Li, Gongbo Chen, Steve Hung Lam Yim, Namratha Gurram, Mo Yang, Xiang Xiao, Shuli Xu, Qi Wei, Hongyao Yu, Boyi Yang, Xiaowen Zeng, Wen Chen, Qiang Hu, Guanghui Dong

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Children are vulnerable to air pollution-induced lung function deficits, and the prevalence of obesity has been increasing in children. To evaluate the joint effects of long-term PM1 (particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter ≤ 1.0 μm) exposure and obesity on children's lung function, a cross-sectional sample of 6740 children (aged 7–14 years) was enrolled across seven northeastern Chinese cities from 2012 to 2013. Weight and lung function, including forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1), peak expiratory flow (PEF), and maximal mid-expiratory flow (MMEF), were measured according to standardized protocols. Average PM1, PM2.5, PM10 and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) exposure levels were estimated using a spatiotemporal model, and sulphur dioxide (SO2) and ozone (O3) exposure were estimated using data from municipal air monitoring stations. Two-level logistic regression and general linear models were used to analyze the joint effects of body mass index (BMI) and air pollutants. The results showed that long-term air pollution exposure was associated with lung function impairment and there were significant interactions with BMI. Associations were stronger among obese and overweight than normal weight participants (the adjusted odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) for PM1 and lung function impairments in three increasing BMI categories were 1.50 (1.07–2.11) to 2.55 (1.59–4.07) for FVC < 85% predicted, 1.44 (1.03–2.01) to 2.51 (1.53–4.11) for FEV1 < 85% predicted, 1.34 (0.97–1.84) to 2.04 (1.24–3.35) for PEF < 75% predicted, and 1.34 (1.01–1.78) to 1.93 (1.26–2.95) for MMEF < 75% predicted). Consistent results were detected in linear regression models for PM1, PM2.5 and SO2 on FVC and FEV1 impairments (PInteraction < 0.05). These modification effects were stronger among females and older participants. These results can provide policy makers with more comprehensive information for to develop strategies for preventing air pollution induced children's lung function deficits among children.

Original languageEnglish
Article number134397
Number of pages10
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2020


  • Air pollution
  • Children
  • Lung function
  • Obesity
  • Particulate matter

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