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Impact of road traffic noise on obesity measures: observational study of three European cohorts

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journal contribution
posted on 2020-07-28, 14:39 authored by Anna Hansell, Yutong Cai, Wilma L Zijlema, Elin Pettersen Sørgjerd, Dany Doiron, Kees de Hoogh, Susan Hodgson, Bruce Wolffenbuttel, John Gulliver, Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, Kazem Rahimi, Kirsti Kvaløy
Environmental stressors such as transportnoise may contribute to development of obesity through increased levels of stress hormones, sleep deprivation and endocrine disruption. Epidemiological evidence supporting an association of road traffic noise with obesity markers is still relatively scant and confined to certain geographical regions. We aimed to examine the cross-sectional associations between road traffic noise and obesity markers in three large European cohorts involving nearly 500,000 individuals.
Three population-based cohorts (UK Biobank, Lifelines, HUNT3) were established between 2006-2013 in the UK, the Netherlands and Norway respectively. For all three cohorts, residential 24-hour road traffic noise (Lden) for 2009 was modelled from a standardised European noise assessment framework. Residential exposures to NO2 for 2007 and PM2.5 for 2010 were estimated from Europe-wide land use regression models. Obesity markers including body mass index and waist circumference were measured at recruitment. Obesity and central obesity status were subsequently derived. Regression models were fitted in each cohort, adjusting for a harmonised set of demographic and lifestyle covariates, with further adjustments for air pollution in the main model.
The main analyses included 412,934 participants of UK Biobank, 61,032 of Lifelines and 30,305of HUNT3, with a mean age of 43-56 years and Ldenranging 42-89dB(A) across cohorts. In UK Biobank, per 10 dB(A) higher of Lden: BMI was higher by 0.14kg/m2(95%CI: 0.11-0.18), waist circumference higher by 0.27cm(95%CI: 0.19-0.35), odds of obesity was 1.06(95%CI: 1.04-1.08) and of central obesity was 1.05(95%CI: 1.04-1.07).These associations were robust to most other sensitivity analyses but attenuated by further adjustment of PM2.5or area-level socioeconomic status. Associations were more pronounced among women,those with low physical activity, higher household income or hearing impairment. In HUNT3, associations were observed for obesity or central obesity status among those exposed to Lden greater than 55dB(A).In contrast, no or negative associations were observed in the Lifelines cohort.
This largest study to date providing mixed findings on impacts of long-term exposure to road traffic noise on obesity, which necessitates future analyses using longitudinal data to further investigate this potentially important epidemiological link.



Environmental Research Volume 191, December 2020, 110013

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Centre for Environmental Health and Sustainability


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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