Air pollution and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Eric V. Balti, Justin B. Echouffo-Tcheugui, Yandiswa Y. Yako, Andre P. Kengne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


Aim: Whether exposure to relatively high levels of air pollution is associated with diabetes occurrence remains unclear. We sought to assess and quantify the association between exposure to major air pollutants and risk of type 2 diabetes. Methods: PubMed and EMBASE databases (through September 2013) were searched using a combination of terms related to exposure to gaseous (NO2 and NOx) or particulate matter pollutants (PM2.5, PM10 and PM10-2.5) and type 2 diabetes. Descriptive and quantitative information were extracted from selected studies. We used random-effects models meta-analysis to derive overall risk estimates per type of pollutant. Results: We included ten studies (five cross-sectional and five prospective), assessing the effects of air pollutants on the occurrence of diabetes. In prospective investigations, the overall effect on diabetes occurrence was significant for both NO2 (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 1.13; 95% confidence interval [95%CI], 1.01-1.22; p<0.001; I2=36.4%, pheterogeneity=0.208) and PM2.5 (HR, 1.11; 95%CI, 1.03-1.20; p<0.001; I2=0.0%, pheterogeneity=0.827). Odds ratios were reported by two cross-sectional studies which revealed similar associations between both NO2 and PM2.5 with type 2 diabetes. Across studies, risk estimates were generally adjusted for age, gender, body mass index and cigarette smoking. Conclusions: Available evidence supports a prospective association of main air pollutants with an increased risk for type 2 diabetes. This finding may have implications for population-based strategies to reduce diabetes risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-172
Number of pages12
JournalDiabetes Research and Clinical Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Air pollution
  • Gaseous pollutants
  • Inflammation
  • Insulin resistance
  • Particulate matters pollutants
  • Type 2 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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