Bigger sewers or better journalism?

The rat growth in Beijing is uncontrollable, unfathomably large rats can be seen lurking in dark alleys.

Lead researcher  Junfeng ‘Jim’ Zhang took pregnant rats and placed them in two different homes, one with filtered Beijing air and one with unfiltered Beijing air. All other aspects of their rat lives remained the same and during their stay in the rat hotel, their weight gain was monitored. My first issue at this point is that we’re measuring and comparing weights of pregnant rodents to humans.

I’m not saying air pollution isn’t a health problem, I’m just saying it’s a leap to conjure the idea that air pollution causes weight gain in humans based on this study.

My favourite line in the abstractHowever, no data have directly supported a link between air pollution and non-diet-induced weight increases.

Do we have a long way to go before we find out what the contributing factors to obesity in humans are?

I think for now we should assume that our environment (it’s obesogenic), genetics, lifestyle and dietary habits are all potential contributing factors for the complex disease in question, obesity.

Air pollution could be, but let’s not hold our breath just yet.

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