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Overweight or Obese People have Increased Exposure to Pollutants

Update Date: Feb 05, 2014 04:23 PM EST
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Overweight and obese people generally face a lot more health complications, such as type 2 diabetes and heart attacks in comparison to people with normal, healthy weights. Now, according to a new study, heavier people have a greater risk of developing health complications due to air pollutants as well. Lead researcher of the study, Dr. Pierre Brochu, professor at the Université de Montréal's School of Public Health, reasoned that since heavier people breath in more air than people with healthy weights, they become more exposed to air pollutants.

For this study, Brochu analyzed data on 1,069 people between the ages of five and 96 and compared the data to 902 individuals of healthy weight who were a part of a 2011 study conducted by Brochu. Brochu divided the participants into five categories depending on the people's body mass index (BMI), which measures obesity by calculating weight in relation to height. The five sections were normal weight, overweight, obese class 1, obese class 2 and obese class 3. The participants were also divided according to their age.

The researchers concluded that overweight and obese adults breathe in roughly seven to 50 percent more air per day in comparison to healthy weight adults. More specifically, Brochu reported that people falling in the obese class 2 group with a BMI of 35 to 39 had the highest average air inhalation. For young children who are overweight or obese, they breathed in around 10 to 24 percent more air in comparison to children with healthy weights. The researchers concluded that the more air these individuals inhaled, the more air pollutants entered their bodies.

Since this study did not find how air pollutants affected the overweight or obese individual's health, Brochu has stated that he plans on continuing his research on how increased exposure to air pollutants due to weight might be tied to health complications.

"It remains to be seen if high inhalation rates are a factor in the development of asthma and other lung diseases in adults and children," said Brochu according to Medical Xpress.

The findings were published in the international journal, Risk Analysis.

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