Passive smoking increases obesity in children and amplifies the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, researchers have found.
The team headed by Catherine Davis, clinical health psychologist at Georgia-based Augusta University, looked at passive smoke exposure in 220 overweight or obese boys and girls in the US.
The team found smoke exposure associated with nearly all measures of adiposity in the children, including bigger bellies and overall fat.
“The take-home message is that for these children, smoke exposure was connected to two major adverse health outcomes, one above the neck and one below the neck,” Davis said. “And every single one of our cognitive measures was poorer in the smoke-exposed children.”
Percentages of body fat in smoke-exposed children were substantially higher than in their also heavy peers, further amplifying their risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and more, Davis said in a paper published in the journal Childhood Obesity.
While previous studies have shown a relationship between overweight and reduced cognitive function, this research found passive smoke had an impact on cognition too that was independent of fat or socioeconomic status.
The findings suggest that at young age, passive smoke may have more effect on the amount of body fat rather than the metabolic dysfunction such as diabetes that fat may eventually cause.