The effects of ambient air quality on the risk and progression of diabetes in China

Chronic exposure to air pollution is linked to increased risk of diabetes, especially in young people and those who are overweight or obese. The findings of the study, published in The Lancet Planetary Health, was a culmination of a survey made from 15,477 participants from three cities in Liaoning province in northeastern China.

  • The study’s objective was to analyze how long-term exposure to ambient particulate matter and gaseous pollutants are linked to the rising incidence of diabetes in the country.
  • The researchers used data from the 33 Communities Chinese Health Study (33 CCHS) to recruit participants for the study. Three cities were then selected, based on their air pollution measurements from 2006 to 2008.
  • The team used fasting and two-hour insulin and glucose concentrations, as well as the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance index and β-cell function, as glucose-homeostasis markers. This was compared with air pollutant data from monitoring stations, which included PM10, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and ozone. A spatial statistical model was also used to get data for PM2.5 and PM1.
  • Based on the results, all studied pollutants are linked to an increase in the likelihood of diabetes. They also found higher concentrations of fasting glucose, two-hour glucose, and two-hour insulin. This was seen in individuals below 50 years and those who are overweight and obese.

According to the researchers, their results carry weight not only in China but also in middle-income countries. They recommended policymakers of these respective countries to expedite measures to intervene with air pollution.

Find the full text of the study at this link.

Journal Reference:

Yang B-Y, Qian Z(M), Li S, Chen G, Bloom MS, Elliott M, Syberg KW, Heinrich J, Markevych I, Wang S-Q, et al. AMBIENT AIR POLLUTION IN RELATION TO DIABETES AND GLUCOSE-HOMOEOSTASIS MARKERS IN CHINA: A CROSS-SECTIONAL STUDY WITH FINDINGS FROM THE 33 COMMUNITIES CHINESE HEALTH STUDY. The Lancet Planetary Health. February 2018;2(2):64–73. DOI: 10.1016/S2542-5196(18)30001-9

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