Air Pollution Tied to Changes in Systolic Blood Pressure in Teens

In HealthDay News
by Healthday

Larger changes seen among girls, regardless of ethnicity, body size, or socioeconomic status

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Feb. 13, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Exposure to certain air pollutants is associated with changes in blood pressure (BP) among adolescents, according to a study published online Feb. 8 in PLOS ONE.

Alexis Karamanos, Ph.D., from King’s College London, and colleagues examined the association between air pollution and BP in adolescents. The analysis included data from 3,284 adolescents (80 percent from ethnic-minority groups) recruited from 51 schools and followed from 11-13 to 14-16 years of age.

The researchers found that ethnic minorities were exposed to higher modeled annual average concentrations of pollution at residential postcode level versus their White peers. When adjusting for ethnicity, age, anthropometry, and pubertal status, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM2.5) were associated with systolic, but not diastolic, BP. For each 1-μg/m3 increase in NO2, there was a 0.30-mmHg decrease in systolic BP for girls and 0.19-mmHg decrease in systolic BP for boys. For each 1-μg/m3 increase in PM2.5, there was a 1.34-mmHg increase in systolic BP for girls and 0.57-mmHg increase in systolic BP for boys. Results were similar across ethnicity, body size, and socioeconomic advantage. Additionally, associations remained when adjusting for noise levels and lung function at 11 to 13 years.

“Given that more than 1 million under 18s live in neighborhoods where air pollution is higher than the recommended health standards, there is an urgent need for more of these studies to gain an in-depth understanding of the threats and opportunities to young people’s development,” a coauthor said in a statement.

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