Researchers were awarded more than $4 million by the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency to study whether exposure to air pollution led children to eat more fast food.
The $4,146,875 grant was awarded in 2013 to fund a five-year study at the University of Southern California into whether proximity to “near-roadway air pollution” was a contributing factor in childhood obesity.
In their published study, released this year in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the researchers say they were unable to prove any association between pollutant exposure and obesity in children, but were able to find a correlation between pollutant exposure and changes in fast-food consumption patterns.
The study was based on interviews conducted with school-age children in twelve southern California communities in the 1990s. Diet information was based on self-reported information from the students, who were given a “food frequency questionnaire” annually until they graduated high school. Pollution levels were estimated for each student’s residential address.
The recorded information was inadequate for answering the question it was paid to answer on childhood obesity, the study explains. read more