TIME Environment

Study: Air Pollution Heightens Risk of Obesity and Diabetes

BEIJING, Dec. 29, 2015-- A pedestrian walks amid heavy smog in Beijing, capital of China, Dec. 29, 2015. A blue alert for heavy air pollution was issued by Beijing municipal emergency response headquarters. Beijing has been bothered by heavy pollution since the winter came. (Xinhua/Wu Wei)
Xinhua News Agency—Getty Images A pedestrian walks amid heavy smog in Beijing, capital of China, Dec. 29, 2015. A blue alert for heavy air pollution was issued by Beijing municipal emergency response headquarters.

The air in Beijing may cause metabolic dysfunction

Exposure to air pollution was shown to increase the risk of obesity and diabetes in rats, according to a new study.

Researchers from Duke University exposed lab rats either to Beijing air or filtered air for 19 days; at the end, the group that got the highly polluted Beijing air had higher bad cholesterol levels (50%), triglycerides (46%) and total cholesterol (97%), factors that can affect the risk of developing obesity and diabetes, United Press International reports. Male rats exposed to pollution ended the study 18% heavier than their filtered air counterparts, and female rats ended the study 10% heavier.

If the same metabolic dysfunction were confirmed to occur in humans, one of the study’s authors said in a press release, “these findings will support the urgent need to reduce air pollution, given the growing burden of obesity in today’s highly polluted world.”

[UPI]

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