What is the role of particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5) on excess weight? A cross-sectional study in young Spanish people aged 2─14 years

José Francisco López-Gil, Sitong Chen, Lee Smith, Héctor Gutiérrez-Espinoza, Desirée Victoria-Montesinos, Javier Nieto Iglesias, Pedro Juan Tárraga-López, Arthur Eumann Mesas

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: To assess the relationship between particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5) levels and the prevalence of excess weight in a representative sample of Spanish young people aged 2─14 years. Methods: This was an ecological cross-sectional study using data from the 2017 wave of the Encuesta Nacional de Salud Española (ENSE), a nationally representative survey of the Spanish young and adult population. The final sample included 4378 young Spanish people (51.0% boys). The weight (kg) and height (cm) of the study participants were proxy-reported by parents or guardians. Excess weight was determined according to the age- and sex-criteria of the International Obesity Task Force. The PM2.5 level was calculated as the annual monitoring data indicator for 2017 among the different regions in Spain. Logistic regression models were performed to estimate the relationships between PM2.5 and weight. Results: Compared to young people located in regions with low levels of PM2.5, those reporting greater odds for excess weight were found in regions with medium PM2.5 (OR = 1.23; 95% CI, 1.02–1.49) and high PM2.5 (OR = 1.35; 95% CI, 1.11–1.64) after adjusting for several sociodemographic, lifestyle and environmental covariates. Conclusions: The prevalence of excess weight in young people was positively associated with PM2.5 levels in Spain. This finding supports the hypothesis that air pollution exposure can result in excess weight in the young population, which, in turn, might lead to the development of metabolic disorders. From a socioecological perspective, a practical need to take environmental factors into consideration is important to address unhealthy weight in Spanish young people.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114561
JournalEnvironmental Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Air pollution
  • Children
  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • Preschoolers
  • Youths

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Environmental Science


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