A new study out of the Ohio State University Medical Center is the first to report a connection between air pollution and diabetes, suggesting senior citizens who live in more urban areas may be at an increased risk.
Though Dr Sanjay Rajagopalan, principal investigator in the study, said more research is needed to confirm the results, the report produced strong evidence of an association between air pollution and two conditions: type 2 diabetes and obesity.
"Obesity and diabetes are very prevalent in urban areas and there have been no studies evaluating the impact of poor air quality on these related conditions until now," Rajagopalan said.
According to the study, exposure to air pollution during a 24-week period created exaggerated insulin resistance and fat inflammation in male mice.
Rajagopalan has done past research connecting air pollution to an increased risk of cardiovascular effects, high blood pressure and acute coronary syndromes.
The pollution level inside the controlled chamber was comparable to what a commuter in a major U.S. metropolitan city may be exposed to.
It has been estimated that approximately 221 million people are expected to develop type 2 diabetes in 2010.