The American Journal of Epidemiology recently published a study concluding that poor air quality during pregnancy can be linked to childhood obesity. And, further studies also indicated that children of various ages that were exposed to air pollution had higher body mass indexes (BMI) than those living in areas and homes with cleaner air.
This adds new fire to increasing concerns about how air quality affects our health. And since it's also been shown that childhood obesity often transmerts into adulthood, we can see how serious the air quality issue can be-it can affect the rest of the child's life. So, where you live and where your home stands with regard to indoor air quality are two big things to think about if you're planning on having children or already pregnant.
Obviously, any parent wants to avoid anything that could harm their children, and the great news here is that poor air quality is almost completely avoidable. I say almost. That's because you're going to walk outside and breathe whatever is there, and you're going to be around smoke or other pollutants from time to time, or chemicals from fragrances-it's tough to stop everything without walking around wearing a respirator, which nobody wants to do.
Other than moving to a low pollution area during pregnancy, you can, however, knock out a solid 95% or more of it by simply making sure the air in your home is filtered properly. And by 'properly', we mean using either a whole house air cleaner or a portable unit that has a good amount of activated carbon and HEPA filters. The activated carbon will remove a large percentage of any chemical pollutants coming in through the air conditioner or being released in the home (normal air conditioner filters do not remove any of this)
The HEPA filter will stop over 99% of any particles or dust from floating around, including the PM2.5 size particles you hear a lot about in some states. For maximum protection, some people install a whole house unit and have a portable air cleaner running in the bedroom or other main rooms. HEPA filters can remove over 99% of particles as small as 0.3 microns, which is good enough to also prevent inhaling dust mite parts and waste material, a common household pollutant that is responsible for a large percentage of allergies and asthma.
Whatever air purification system you choose, whole house or portable, you do want to make sure it has as much quality activated carbon in it. Carbon filters do become planned and having a lot of carbon means it will not only do a better job but also last much longer. And we recommend replacing activated carbon and HEPA filters a little ahead of schedule for expecting mothers, since letting filters go too long can cause pollutants to slip through which circulates polluted air, which is something you want to avoid.
Regardless, making the investment in your air quality can make a huge difference, not only in preventing your child from having issues with obesity but can also prevent many other health issues and save you and your family a lot of money since you will all likely stay healthier longer, with fewer trips to the doctor.