Air Pollution in Beijing is Fattening


If you haven’t heard the latest news, the impending return of the haze might be anytime soon these recent months. Yet, for those of you who are groaning at the fact that it’s time to bring out all those N95 masks, be thankful that, well, other than the fact that you have had fresh air for 11 months, at least this haze – despite the fact that it is choking and irritating – isn’t at all as fattening as per what others are facing in Beijing, China!
It is no secret that China has been battling pollution for years, ranging not only from air but to land and water as well. However, while pollution isn’t a surprising topic to most, it is the recent findings funded by the Chinese government and done by researchers of Duke University that yielded relatively eye popping results. Besides cardio-respiratory and metabolic problems, it seems that the air pollution in Beijing also increases the risk of obesity too.

Done on two groups of pregnant rats and their children, with one set being subjected to the heavy outdoor air pollution and the other set with filtered air, the rats exposed to polluted air saw higher levels of cholesterol, inflammation in their lungs and livers, lower insulin resistance, as interestingly, gained weight despite the two groups being fed the same diet. Off-springs of the rats subjected to the polluted air were also much heavier and fatter in comparison.

Interestingly too, beyond the findings of the research, the effect of obesity hasn’t gone unnoticed by people living in China. Foreigners who have been staying there for a period of time have complained gaining weight, despite the lack of comfort foods that would pile on the pounds. For us, we too have noticed friends who have returned from Beijing looking slightly chubbier, despite seeing them not put on any weights for years when they are living in Singapore (although, being the good friends that we are, have not raised it up to them and merely pinched their cheeks in response). While the fact is that air pollution in Singapore isn’t as bad as that in Beijing, nor can we be conclusive that all air pollutions is a factor to weight gain, it is nonetheless a concern to be taken into consideration, given how it is also being added to the list of health problems that pollution raise.

After all, 11 months of dieting and weight loss only to have the weight come back to us in that one month?! No thanks really. Worse, what if this happens instead?!

‘Hairy Nose’ – WildAid China & GOblue from WildAid on Vimeo.