New research finds that air pollution may be contributing to the rise in type 2 diabetes
To reach their findings, the scientists looked at data from 10,443 participants from diabetes
screening studies in Leicestershire in the UK. They considered factors such as the number of cases of type 2 diabetes, exposure to air pollution and demographic and lifestyle factors.
The scientists concluded that demographic factors largely explained the link between type 2 diabetes and air pollution. Dr Gary O’Donovan, lead author of the study, said: “High air pollution and low physical activity are two of the leading causes of disease and premature death in middle and high-income countries.”
“Like most cities in the UK, Leicester has only a handful of air quality monitors. The UN has estimated that two thirds of world's population will be living in cities by 2050 and our cities must become better, healthier places in which to live,” Dr O’Donovan added.
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According to the scientists, exposure to traffic-related air pollution is tied to insulin resistance – a hallmark of type 2 diabetes – and observational evidence has been applied to better understand this potential link.
Professor Roland Leigh, co-author of the study, said: “We know that air pollution is the world's largest environmental health risk affecting 92% of the population and associated with more than three million deaths per year and evidence suggested it may contribute to the rise in type 2 diabetes.”
“While original results suggested association between air pollution and associated particulates and type 2 diabetes, when the effects of lifestyle and demographic factors were considered, and given the limited size of the sample, evidence for direct association with air pollution was inconclusive,” Professor Leigh concluded.