Long-term Exposure to Traffic-related Air Pollution and Type 2 Diabetes Prevalence in a Cross-sectional Screening-study in the Netherlands

Marieke B. A. Dijkema*, Sanne F. Mallant, Ulrike Gehring, Katja van den Hurk, Marjan Alssema, Rob T. van Strien, Paul H. Fischer, Giel Nijpels, Coen D. A. Stehouwer, Gerard Hoek, Jacqueline M. Dekker, Bert Brunekreef

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Air pollution may promote type 2 diabetes by increasing adipose inflammation and insulin resistance. This study examined the relation between long-term exposure to traffic-related air pollution and type 2 diabetes prevalence among 50- to 75-year-old subjects living in Westfriesland, the Netherlands. Methods: Participants were recruited in a cross-sectional diabetes screening-study conducted between 1998 and 2000. Exposure to traffic-related air pollution was characterized at the participants' home-address. Indicators of exposure were land use regression modeled nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentration, distance to the nearest main road, traffic flow at the nearest main road and traffic in a 250 m circular buffer. Crude and age-, gender- and neighborhood income adjusted associations were examined by logistic regression. Results: 8,018 participants were included, of whom 619 (8%) subjects had type 2 diabetes. Smoothed plots of exposure versus type 2 diabetes supported some association with traffic in a 250 m buffer (the highest three quartiles compared to the lowest also showed increased prevalence, though non-significant and not increasing with increasing quartile), but not with the other exposure metrics. Modeled NO2-concentration, distance to the nearest main road and traffic flow at the nearest main road were not associated with diabetes. Exposure-response relations seemed somewhat more pronounced for women than for men (non-significant). Conclusions: We did not find consistent associations between type 2 diabetes prevalence and exposure to traffic-related air pollution, though there were some indications for a relation with traffic in a 250 m buffer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9
JournalEnvironmental Health
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2011


  • 50-75 yrs
  • general population
  • long term
  • the Netherlands
  • traffic related air pollution
  • type 2 diabetes

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