Children exposed to traffic fumes have a greater chance of being diagnosed with diabetes later in life, new research shows.
Scientists discovered living near a bustling road and raised levels of pollution from vehicles considerably increased the risk of insulin resistance in children aged 10.
The study investigated the impact of two types of traffic pollution on 397 children. Researchers took blood samples, while pollution emissions were measured in their neighbourhoods.
As levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sooty particulate matter (PM) from diesel exhausts increased, the risk of insulin resistance went up by 17% and 19% respectively. Risk increased by 7% every 500 metres closer a child lived to a busy road.
Study leader Dr Joachim Heinrich, from the German Research Centre for Environmental Health in Neuherberg, said this marks the first time researchers have looked into the link between long-term traffic-related air pollution and insulin resistance in children.
"Insulin resistance levels tended to increase with increasing air pollution exposure, and this observation remained robust after adjustment for several confounding factors, including socio-economic status, BMI and passive smoking," he said.
Copyright Press Association 2013