The mediating effect of body mass index on the relationship between cigarette smoking and atopic sensitization in Chinese adults

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Abstract

© 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Background: It is unclear whether the relationship between cigarette smoking and atopy is mediated by body fat mass, such as the Body Mass Index (BMI). We assessed the mediating role of BMI on the relationship between smoking and atopy in Chinese adults. Methods: A hospital-based case-control study of 786 atopic cases and 2771 controls was conducted in adults aged 18 years or older from March 2010 to September 2014 in Harbin, China. Mediation models were used to estimate the indirect effects of smoking on atopic sensitization through BMI. Results: Compared to non-smokers, light smokers and moderate smokers had a lower risk of inhalant allergen sensitization. The indirect effect of smoking and sensitization to aeroallergens were only observed in light smokers (point estimate, −0.026; 95% CI, −0.062 to −0.004). The mediating roles of BMI on the relationships between smoking and other types of allergic sensitization were not statistically significant. Conclusion: BMI appeared to partially mediate the effect of light smoking on sensitization to aeroallergens. However, considering the other harmful health effects of cigarette smoking, the effective method to lower the incidence of atopy would be to decrease body fat mass by physical exercise and employing other more healthy ways of living rather than smoking.

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Luo, X., Wang, Y., Wang, Z., Cai, F., Xie, B., Qu, S., & Liu, M. (2015). The mediating effect of body mass index on the relationship between cigarette smoking and atopic sensitization in Chinese adults. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 12(3), 3381–3394. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120303381

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