Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineSchool of Public Health

Chair in Global Environmental Health



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BibTex format

author = {Allen, RT and Hales, NM and Baccarelli, A and Jerrett, M and Ezzati, M and Dockery, DW and Pope, CA},
doi = {10.1186/s12940-016-0168-2},
journal = {Environmental Health},
title = {Countervailing effects of income, air pollution, smoking, and obesity on aging and life expectancy: population-based study of U.S. Counties},
url = {},
volume = {15},
year = {2016}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - BackgroundIncome, air pollution, obesity, and smoking are primary factors associated with human health and longevity in population-based studies. These four factors may have countervailing impacts on longevity. This analysis investigates longevity trade-offs between air pollution and income, and explores how relative effects of income and air pollution on human longevity are potentially influenced by accounting for smoking and obesity.MethodsCounty-level data from 2,996 U.S. counties were analyzed in a cross-sectional analysis to investigate relationships between longevity and the four factors of interest: air pollution (mean 1999–2008 PM2.5), median income, smoking, and obesity. Two longevity measures were used: life expectancy (LE) and an exceptional aging (EA) index. Linear regression, generalized additive regression models, and bivariate thin-plate smoothing splines were used to estimate the benefits of living in counties with higher incomes or lower PM2.5. Models were estimated with and without controls for smoking, obesity, and other factors.ResultsModels which account for smoking and obesity result in substantially smaller estimates of the effects of income and pollution on longevity. Linear regression models without these two variables estimate that a $1,000 increase in median income (1 μg/m3 decrease in PM2.5) corresponds to a 27.39 (33.68) increase in EA and a 0.14 (0.12) increase in LE, whereas models that control for smoking and obesity estimate only a 12.32 (20.22) increase in EA and a 0.07 (0.05) increase in LE. Nonlinear models and thin-plate smoothing splines also illustrate that, at higher levels of income, the relative benefits of the income-pollution tradeoff changed—the benefit of higher incomes diminished relative to the benefit of lower air pollution exposure.ConclusionsHigher incomes and lower levels of air pollution both correspond with increased human longevity. Adjusting for smoking and obesity reduces estimates of the benefi
AU - Allen,RT
AU - Hales,NM
AU - Baccarelli,A
AU - Jerrett,M
AU - Ezzati,M
AU - Dockery,DW
AU - Pope,CA
DO - 10.1186/s12940-016-0168-2
PY - 2016///
SN - 1832-3367
TI - Countervailing effects of income, air pollution, smoking, and obesity on aging and life expectancy: population-based study of U.S. Counties
T2 - Environmental Health
UR -
UR -
VL - 15
ER -