NEW RESEARCH: Does air pollution make teens eat fattening foods?

New research from our Center investigators suggests that early exposure to traffic pollution may be linked to unhealthy diet in adolescence.

by Leigh Hopper, USC Media Relations

Our study found that exposure to traffic pollution during childhood makes adolescents more likely to eat foods high in unhealthy trans fats.  (Photo/Courtesy of the South Coast Air Quality Management District)

Could air pollution be making us fat?

A new USC study suggests that exposure to traffic pollution during childhood makes adolescents 34 percent more likely to eat foods high in unhealthy trans fats — regardless of household income, parent education level or proximity to fast-food restaurants. The findings on air pollution and obesity in teens appear in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

“Strange as it may seem, we discovered kids in polluted communities ate more fast food than other kids,” said Zhanghua Chen, a postdoctoral research associate in the department of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, and the study’s first author.

Continue reading “NEW RESEARCH: Does air pollution make teens eat fattening foods?”

Youth from across Los Angeles gather for LA Youth for Environmental Justice Forum

On Saturday June 30th 2018, USC Environmental Health Centers, Community Engagement Program on Health and Environment, hosted the Los Angeles Youth for Environmental Justice (#LAYouth4EJ) Forum to highlight and center the work of youth in the forefront of the environmental justice movement. The forum celebrated young people who are visioning and organizing for safe, healthy and just communities where we can all play, study, live and thrive!

Presenters at the #LAYouth4EJ Forum 2018

The forum brought together over thirty-five youth organizers from six different neighborhoods addressing Los Angeles most pressing environmental health issues.

Participants came from South Central Los Angeles, Alhambra, South East LA and the Harbor area, where they are organizing to protect the health and safety of their communities on the frontlines of the dangers of exposure to environmental hazards. Continue reading “Youth from across Los Angeles gather for LA Youth for Environmental Justice Forum”

A Day in the Life program showcases youth stories and air pollution monitoring

“A Day in the Life” is a community-based media project that brings visibility to the stories of youth of color living and organizing in four Los Angeles communities that experience a variety of environmental & pollution impacts. Participants used multimedia to document what they see and experience during the course of their day while monitoring air pollution in each of their respective communities.

Youth In Action members of Communities for a Better Environment do an air monitoring activity on Pacific Ave. in Huntington Park, CA.

Launched in the summer of 2017, “A Day in the Life” was developed as part of a collaboration with USC and with community-based organizations with youth memberships. With a goal to increase environmental health literacy, collect community owned data, and promote awareness about exposures to pollution at the neighborhood level in environmental justice, youth participated in a series of workshops. In these workshops participants learned about air pollution, particulate matter <2.5 µg/m, sources of pollution and the impacts on health. Participants were trained to use AirBeams, low-cost portable air monitoring devices, to record the air pollution along their daily routes of travel from their homes to school and around their communities. In collaboration with Sandy Navarro of LA Grit Media, students also participated in a Storytelling for Social Change workshop, where they learned the skills needed to capture and craft a story, such as story boarding, framing shots, and becoming familiar with photo and video editing tools. Continue reading “A Day in the Life program showcases youth stories and air pollution monitoring”