Niedermayer, Fiona and Wolf, Kathrin and Zhang, Siqi and Dallavalle, Marco and Nikolaou, Nikolaos and Schwettmann, Lars and Selsam, Peter and Hoffmann, Barbara and Schneider, Alexandra and Peters, Annette (2024) Sex-specific associations of environmental exposures with prevalent diabetes and obesity: results from the KORA Fit study. Environmental research, 252. p. 118965. ISSN 0013-9351 - 1096-0953

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Background: Promising evidence suggests a link between environmental factors, particularly air pollution, and diabetes and obesity. However, it is still unclear whether men and women are equally susceptible to environmental exposures. Objectives: We aimed to assess sex-specific long-term effects of environmental exposures on metabolic diseases. Methods: We analyzed cross-sectional data from 3,034 participants (53.7% female, aged 53-74 years) from the KORA Fit study (2018/19), a German population-based cohort. Environmental exposures, including annual averages of air pollutants [nitrogen oxides (NO2, NOx), ozone, particulate matter of different diameters (PM10, PMcoarse, PM2.5), PM2.5abs, particle number concentration], air temperature and surrounding greenness, were assessed at participants’ residences. We evaluated sex-specific associations of environmental exposures with prevalent diabetes, obesity, body-mass-index (BMI) and waist circumference using logistic or linear regression models with an interaction term for sex, adjusted for age, lifestyle factors and education. Further effect modification, in particular by urbanization, was assessed in sex-stratified analyses. Results: Higher annual averages of air pollution, air temperature and greenness at residence were associated with diabetes prevalence in men (NO2: Odds Ratio (OR) per interquartile range increase in exposure: 1.49 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.13, 1.95], air temperature: OR: 1.48 [95%-CI: 1.15, 1.90]; greenness: OR: 0.78 [95%-CI: 0.59, 1.01]) but not in women. Conversely, higher levels of air pollution, temperature and lack of greenness were associated with lower obesity prevalence and BMI in women. After including an interaction term for urbanization, only higher greenness was associated with higher BMI in rural women, whereas higher air pollution was associated with higher BMI in urban men. Discussion: We observed sex-specific associations of environmental exposures with metabolic diseases. An additional interaction between environmental exposures and urbanization on obesity suggests a higher susceptibility to air pollution among urban men, and higher susceptibility to greenness among rural women, which needs corroboration in future studies.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: metabolic diseases diabetes obesity air pollution greenness urbanization
Subjects: Technology, medicine, applied sciences > Medicine and health
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Department of Public Health and Medical Education
Date Deposited: 10 May 2024 08:21
Last Modified: 10 May 2024 08:21
URN: urn:nbn:de:gbv:715-oops-69385
DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2024.118965

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