Is Air Pollution Making Us Fat?
You know breathing clean air benefits your lungs and heart. But what about your waistline?
More and more researchers are uncovering links between obesity and long-term exposure to toxins, chemicals, and compounds.
A recent hypothesis suggests that rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the environment might be contributing to the obesity epidemic in our country. The idea is that breathing too much CO2 causes our blood to become more acidic, which triggers neurons that regulate appetite, sleep, and metabolism to fire more rapidly. As a result, we could be eating more, sleeping less, and gaining more weight.
This idea doesn’t mean that you should run off and live in a carbon dioxide-free bubble to maintain your figure. CO2 is an important gas, and without it we couldn’t survive. This hypothesis is still in the what-if stage and requires more testing.
However, evidence does exist that supports the idea that air pollution and obesity are inextricably linked.
Here is what we know:
A 2011 study from the College of Public Health at Ohio State University found that exposure to fine particulate matter led to insulin resistance and reduced glucose tolerance – precursory conditions to Type 2 diabetes. This information led researchers to name long-term exposure to air pollution a risk factor for diabetes, a disease highly correlated with obesity. (More than 80 percent of those diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes are considered obese.)
So how can you reduce your exposure to air pollution? Scientists recommend using High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters to reduce levels of fine particles in your home. HEPA filters are often found in air purifiers and vacuum cleaners. They remove 99.97% of airborne particles, sized down to 0.3 microns. (In other words, particles that are 240 times smaller than the width of a human hair.)
Of course, staying in shape also requires a healthy balance of diet and exercise. While our passion and expertise lies in the indoor air treatment field, we believe you should strive to be healthy in all aspects of your life.
This Saturday, we are participating in the Fight for Air Climb Atlanta, which benefits the American Lung Association (ALA). Along with 400 participants, we will take on the 45 flights of stairs at one of Atlanta’s tallest buildings. The event is one of many stair climbs taking place across the country to raise awareness about asthma, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and dozens of other lung diseases. This is our second year participating in the Climb, and we are excited to continue helping the ALA raise funds for lung disease research, treatment, and prevention.
Check out the Team Breathe page to find out more about our team and the Fight for Air Climb.
Have you noticed a difference in your waistline as a result of breathing cleaner air?