Air Pollution and Weight Gain

Scales

Indoor Air Quality and Weight Gain

Obesity is not as always as straight forward as poor diet and exercise habits. Many things contribute to the problem of weight gain, including genetics, metabolism and surprisingly, even the very air you breathe.

Studies done in the smoggy city of Beijing, China showed that rats who were fed the same diet, gained more weight when breathing the polluted air from the city than those provided with clean, filtered air. In fact, the polluted air caused others symptoms also related to obesity, such as metabolic malfunction and high cholesterol levels.

Read on for some of the ways that pollution and breathing related issues can contribute to obesity and more.



Asthma

Asthma

Many aspects of asthma are contributing factors to weight gain, such as the side-effects of medications like inhaled steroids or the extreme fatigue and the shortness of breath which leads to less ability to work out and shed unwanted extra weight.  

Things You Can Do:

  • Know what's coming. Your local weather forecast is a great place to turn for information on what your city's pollution levels might look like. Keep on the alert for "ozone alerts". If you can't find a resource locally, check out AirNow.gov which allows you to get Air Quality Index (AQI) numbers for any zipcode in the US.
  • Control what you can.  You may not be able to filter every breath you take, nor can you snap your fingers and get rid of smog, but you can get rid of a lot of indoor irritants in your home or office. Check out our suggestions for air purifiers that target common asthma triggers.
Air Purifiers for Asthma


Heart

Heart Disease

Mix weight gain with increased risk of heart disease, and it's not a pretty picture. Over the past 20 years, there has been an increasing amount of evidence that heart disease is linked to exposure to pollution. In part this is understood to be due to noxious chemicals like ozone or sulfur dioxide (commonly found in car exhaust), but studies* have also linked Particulate Matter (PM) to both short-term and long-term health issues. 

Things You Can Do:

  • Know if you're at risk. The elderly and those with pre-existing cardiovascular issues are most likely to be effected. If you fall in either category, it pays to be extra careful.
  • Don't smoke. It may seem obvious, but smoking (or being around second hand smoke) is a huge factor in increasing the negative effects of pollution.
  • Filter your air for your weight...and your heart. A good air purifier with a HEPA filter will filter out nearly all of the PM that causes many issues. An investment in the same air purifier that's helpful for your allergies, will also target particulate pollution!

Air Purifiers for Allergies




Sleep

Poor Sleep

Insufficient sleep is also linked to obesity, and while there are many reasons you might not get enough sleep, difficulty breathing doesn't need to be one of them. If you're struggling with post-nasal drip and a stuffy nose, take action.

Things You Can Do:

  • Read some more. It pays to know why sleep is important and how sleep loss effects us.
  • Get an air purifier just for your bedroom. Curiously, most of us spend more time in our bedrooms then any other room in the house. We recommend all the time that if you are buying your first air purifier, that it go in your bedroom. It's a great way to leverage your investment...and sleep better!

Air Purifiers for the Bedroom

 


*AHAjournals.org