As though organ failure wasn’t bad enough, a recently published Chinese-backed study has found that pollution is linked to weight gain.
In the study, lab rats in a chamber were exposed to the satanic toxin known as outdoor Beijing air, while a control group in another chamber enjoyed filtered air. After 19 days the former group were found to be heavier, despite being treated to the same diet. To be specific, that entailed: heavier lungs and livers and tissue inflammation, 97% higher total cholesterol — including 50% higher “bad” DSL cholesterol and 46% higher triglyceride fat — and higher insulin resistance typical of Type 2 diabetes, SCMP reports.
On the upside, the study also found that effects were less significant after 8 weeks, with a mere 10-18% increase in weight gain among the rats inhaling Beijing’s air.
Nonetheless, Junfeng Zhang, senior author of the paper, warns that the findings are significant cause for concern:
Since chronic inflammation is recognized as a factor contributing to obesity and since metabolic diseases such as diabetes and obesity are closely related, our findings provide clear evidence that chronic exposure to air pollution increases the risk for developing obesity.
If translated and verified in humans, these findings will support the urgent need to reduce air pollution, given the growing burden of obesity in today’s highly polluted world.
For further details, see the March issue of the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.
In other news, Beijing’s authorities have decided to tempt fate by raising the pollution standard for red alerts from next month onwards.