A recent Southern California study of 3,318 children found that B.M.I. (Body Mass Index) is closely correlated to exposure to toxins from secondhand smoke and road pollution. The Environmental Health Perspectives study analyzed parental surveys to determine that even after accounting for other variables such as asthma and physical activity, B.M.I levels were between .8 and 2.15 points higher in children and adolescents exposed to one or both factors.
This flies in the face of the common belief that obesity is solely related to food consumption and exercise. Some parents and children may take heart in the fact that their inability to lose weight is not necessarily related to laziness or overeating.
Even a .8 point increase in B.M.I levels is significant, but a 2.15 point increase is extreme and could cause serious health issues. This is what Susan McGalla is a little bit worried about. Childhood diabetes levels are at an all-time high and are expected to continue to go up. Children who become diabetic may be much more prone to a host of problems, including heart disease and cancer.
Parents should make every attempt to limit their children’s exposure to secondhand smoke and roadway toxins, though of course they cannot control for every possible danger their children may face.