Low socioeconomic status aggravated associations of exposure to mixture of air pollutants with obesity in rural Chinese adults: A cross-sectional study

Runqi Tu, Jian Hou, Xiaotian Liu, Ruiying Li, Xiaokang Dong, Mingming Pan, Shanshan Yin, Kai Hu, Zhenxing Mao, Wenqian Huo, Gongbo Chen, Yuming Guo, Xian Wang, Shanshan Li, Chongjian Wang

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Objectives: Socio-economic status (SES) and air pollutants are thought to play an important role in human obesity. The evidence of interactive effect between SES and long-term exposure to mixture of air pollutants on obesity is limited, thus, this study is aimed to investigate their interactive effects on obesity among a rural Chinese population. Methods: A total of 38,817 individuals were selected from the Henan Rural Cohort Study. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was applied to construct the latent variables of low SES (educational level, marital status, family yearly income, and number of family members), air pollution (particulate matter with aerodynamics diameters ≤ 1.0 μm, ≤ 2.5 μm or ≤ 10 μm, and nitrogen dioxide) and obesity (body mass index, waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, waist-to-height ratio, body fat percentage and visceral fat index). Generalized linear regression models were used to assess associations between the constructed latent variables. Interaction plots were applied to describe interactive effect of air pollution and low SES on obesity and biological interaction indicators (the relative excess risk due to interaction (RERI), attributable proportion due to interaction (AP) and synergy index (S)) were also calculated. Results: Increased latent variables of low SES and mixture of air pollution were associated with a higher odds of latent variable of obesity (odds ratios (OR) (95% confidence interval (CI)) were 1.055 (1.049, 1.060) and 1.050 (1.045, 1.055)). The association of the mixture of air pollutants on obesity was aggravated by increased values of the latent variable of low SES (P < 0.001). Furthermore, the values of RERI, AP and S were 0.073 (0.051, 0.094), 0.057 (0.040, 0.073) and 1.340 (1.214, 1.479), respectively, indicating an additive effect of estimated latent variable of low SES and air pollution on obesity. Conclusions: These findings suggested that low SES aggravated the negative effect of mixture of air pollutants on obesity, implying that individuals with low SES may be more susceptible to exposure to high levels of mixture of air pollutants related to increased risk of prevalent obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110632
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Research
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Air pollution
  • Obesity
  • Rural population
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Structural equation modeling

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