• Smog Exposure During Pregnancy Tied to Tinier Babies

    International study looked at more than 3 million births
    WEDNESDAY, Feb. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Pregnant women exposed to particulate air pollution -- commonly known as smog -- have a significantly greater risk of having a baby with a low birth weight, according to a large new international study.
    Specifically, particulate air pollution refers to tiny particles emitted by vehicles, coal power plants and other sources. Low birth weight (less than 5.5 pounds) is associated with increased likelihood of complications and death after birth, as well as chronic health problems later in life.
    Researchers analyzed data from more than 3 million births in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. They found that the greater the amount of particulate pollution, the higher the rate of babies with low birth weight.
    The study was published Feb. 6 in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. Although it shows an association between air pollution and low birth weight, it doesn't prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
    "What's significant is that these are air-pollution levels to which practically everyone in the world is commonly exposed," study co-principal investigator Tracey Woodruff, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, said in a university news release. "These microscopic particles, which are smaller than the width of a human hair, are in the air that we all breathe."
    Woodruff noted that nations with tighter regulations on particulate air pollution have lower levels of these pollutants.
    "In the United States, we have shown over the last several decades that the benefits to health and well-being from reducing air pollution are far greater than the costs," Woodruff said. "This is a lesson that all nations can learn."
    Study co-author Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, of the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Spain, said in the news release: "This study comes at the right time to bring the issue to the attention of policy makers."
    Nieuwenhuijsen noted the recent exceedingly high levels of particulate air pollution in Beijing. "From the perspective of world health, levels like this are obviously completely unsustainable," he said.
    More information
    The March of Dimes has more about low birth weight (http://www.marchofdimes.com/baby/premature_lowbirthweight.html ).
    SOURCE: University of California, San Francisco, news release, Feb. 6, 2013
  • Join WellZones today.

    Make a Change For LifeLearn more

    Wellmont LiveWell is creating a new tradition of wellness in the mountains by providing individuals with tools and encouragement to live healthier lifestyles.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    HeartSHAPE® Test Learn more

    Fight heart disease early and prevent heart attacks with HeartSHAPE® - a painless, non-invasive test that takes pictures of your heart to scan for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.


  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.