Researchers at the University of Southern California found that children exposed to high levels of nitrogen dioxide emitted by diesel engines during their first year of life gained weight faster throughout their childhood and had a higher body mass index ( BMI) age 10 years.
They said the findings were "important for public health to intervene given the large number of children living near the streets.
The survey, published in the Environmental Health magazine, was attended by 2318 children in Southern California. The height and weight of children were measured annually over a four-year period and their lifetime in flooded air pollution, including the uterus or the first year of life, was estimated.
It is based on the previous survey, in which traffic pollution was characterized as "a major risk factor for the development of obesity in children aged 10-18.
Researchers in the latest study conclude that because they are in the uterus and the first year of life are important developmental periods that affect growth, increased exposure to air pollution near the road arteries during these "critical periods" can contribute in the future risk of obesity by changing the course of development, resulting in faster development of childhood BMI.
The publication of the survey follows the launch of the National Clean Air for Children Program last month, which requires £ 153 million of funding to protect babies and children from the harmful effects of pollution.
- The study is available here