Health impacts
26 June 2020
Air pollutants
Publications and Scientific Resources

Early-Life Environmental Exposures and Childhood Obesity: An Exposome-Wide Approach

This study attempts at systematically assessing the association between a wide range of early environmental exposures and childhood obesity, using a comprehensive approach.

Childhood obesity rates are rising at an alarming rate worldwide, and a plateau seems to have been reached in Europe and in the rich English-speaking countries. Using the Human Early Life Exposome (HELIX) index, this study seeks to assess the association between a wide range of early life environmental exposures and childhood obesity, including exposure to air pollution. 


There is growing suspicion that both chemical and non-chemical environmental exposures influence the development of obesity, particularly in early childhood. However, research projects have been conducted primarily on single exposure cases. For this reason, in this study, the researchers wished to focus instead on cases of multiple exposures. 


The preliminary results of their analysis reinforce the evidence pointing to an association between several environmental factors (smoking, exposure to air pollution, characteristics of the built environment) and the risk of childhood obesity. 


Authors: Martine Vrijheid et al - Environmental Health Perspectives (2020).