Early exposure to air pollution from vehicles increases the risk of children becoming obese, new research has found.
High levels of nitrogen dioxide, which is emitted by diesel engines, in the first year of life led to significantly faster weight gain later, the scientists found. Other pollutants produced by road traffic have also been linked to obesity in children by recent studies.
Nitrogen dioxide pollution is at illegal levels in most urban areas in the UK and the government has lost three times in the high court over the inadequacy of its plans. The pollutant also plaguesÂ many cities in EuropeÂ and around the world.
â€œWe would urge parents to be mindful where their young children spend their time, especially considering if those areas are near major roads,â€ said Jeniffer Kim, at the University of Southern California, who led the new research. â€œThe first year of life is a period of rapid development of various systems in the body [and] may prime the bodyâ€™s future development.â€
TheÂ World Health Organization (WHO) revealedÂ last Monday that 90% of the worldâ€™s children are breathing unsafe air, a situation described as â€œinexcusableâ€ by the WHOâ€™s head. Concern over the impact of toxic air on childrenâ€™s health is rising as research reveals serious long-term damage to both their physical andÂ mental health.
Nearest tube: Elephant & Castle underground station (Northern and Bakerloo lines).
Nearest Railway Station: Elephant & Castle
Buses from Elephant and Castle: ask bus driver for Burgess Park. Bus numbers: 12, 171, 148, 176, 68, 484, 42, 40, 45