Weight gain is another condition linked to air pollution. A 2020 report published in the journal Environmental International showed how exposure to air pollution negatively affects the human gut microbiome. The study found that pollutants could increase the risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes. This research revealed that the tiny particles that enter our digestive tract can impact the growth of good and bad microbes. Additionally, a 2021 study following 3,902,440 veterans from 2010 to 2018 showed that air pollution — particularly fine particulate matter — was linked to weight gain and obesity.
There are a few things you can do to protect yourself against air pollution. One way is to check local air quality warnings on websites like AirNow. When levels of pollution are high, avoid going outside when you can. If you have to be outside when air quality is poor, you can also wear a high-filtration mask, such as a KN95 or a P99. You can also clean the air in your home with an air purifier that uses a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter to remove pollen, dirt, and other particles from the air (via Smithsonian Magazine).