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Jardel, Hanna; Martin, Chantel L.; Hoyo, Cathrine; & Rappazzo, Kristen M. (2023). Interplay of Gestational Parent Exposure to Ambient Air Pollution and Diet Characteristics on Preterm Birth. BMC Public Health, 23(1), 822. PMCID: PMC10161541


BACKGROUND: Despite many efforts, preterm birth (PTB) is poorly understood and remains a major public health problem in the United States. Toxicological work suggests gestational parent (GP) diet may modify the effect of ambient pollutants on birth outcomes. We assessed risk of PTB in humans in relation to fine particulate matter (PM(2.5)), ozone (O(3)), and nitrogen dioxide (NO(2)) and variation by diet.
METHODS: 684 GP-singleton infant pairs in the Newborn Epigenetics Study prospective birth cohort were attributed ambient air pollutant exposures for each trimester based on residence. Total energy intake, percent of energy intake from saturated fat, and percent of energy intake from total fat were dichotomized at the 75th percentile. We used log binomial regressions to estimate risk ratios (RR (95%CI)) for PTB by pollutant interquartile ranges, adjusting for GP age, pre-pregnancy body mass index, GP race/ethnicity, GP education, season of conception, household income, and each diet factor. We assessed departure from additivity using interaction contrast ratios (ICRs). We addressed missing covariate data with multiple imputation.
RESULTS: Point estimates suggest that O(3) may be inversely associated with PTB when exposure occurs in trimester 2 (min RR: 0.77, 95% CI: 0.39, 1.49), but may be harmful when exposure occurs in trimester 3 (max RR: 1.51, 95% CI: 0.62, 3.64). Additionally, PM(2.5) may be inversely associated with PTB when considered with total fat and saturated fat in trimester 2. Imprecise ICRs suggest departure from additivity (evidence of modification) with some pollutant-diet combinations.
CONCLUSIONS: While confidence intervals are wide, we observed potential modification of pollutant associations by dietary factors. It is imperative that large cohorts collect the required data to examine this topic, as more power is necessary to investigate the nuances suggested by this work.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

BMC Public Health


Jardel, Hanna
Martin, Chantel L.
Hoyo, Cathrine
Rappazzo, Kristen M.

Article Type




Data Set/Study

Newborn Epigenetics Study (NEST)


United States of America


North Carolina




Martin, C. - 0000-0003-1907-0810