A new study finds no link between elevated CO2 levels and a lower risk of obesity and diabetes in older adults
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found no link in its analysis of data from a nationally representative sample of people aged 60 and over between 2003 and 2012 between increased exposure to air pollution and a lowered risk of developing obesity or diabetes.
The study, which was published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found no statistically significant association between elevated levels of air pollution or other health conditions and the risk of these conditions.
Researchers looked at data from nearly 100,000 people, aged 60 to 89, from the Centers for Health and Human Services, the Environmental Protection Agency and other government agencies.
The results showed that the link between air pollution exposure and obesity and other health problems was “non-significant” among those who had measured their CO2.
The researchers also found no significant association among people who had never measured their air pollution levels, or people who were living in rural areas where air pollution was not considered a major health concern.
“While the data is consistent with previous studies that found no association between air pollutants and weight gain, we are unable to draw any conclusions about the causal mechanisms underlying this finding,” lead author Dr. Daniel R. Katz, a professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said in a statement.
“In particular, there is a lack of data on the effects of air pollutants on weight gain among older adults.
The findings of this study do not mean that increased exposure has no impact on weight.”
Katz said the findings should “not be construed as definitive” of an association between the two.
“These findings are limited and based on relatively small samples and do not provide definitive evidence for the causal effect of air pollutant exposure on weight,” he said.
Dr. Michael Schoenfeld, a researcher at the Harvard School of Preventive Medicine and an author of the study, told The Associated Press that it was not clear why people in the study who lived in rural or small-scale communities where air pollutants were not considered an issue would have an elevated risk of having obesity or other chronic conditions.
“The data here suggest that there is an association that we would have expected to find,” he told the AP.
The research is part of a larger effort by the EPA to better understand how air pollution affects people’s health.
A new EPA study also looked at air pollution from power plants and industrial sites.
The AP’s David M. Cohen and Jonathan D. Landay contributed to this report.