Long-Term Exposure to Road Traffic Noise and Incident Diabetes: A Cohort Study
Mette Sørensen,1 Zorana J. Andersen,1,2 Rikke B. Nordsborg,1 Thomas Becker,3 Anne Tjønneland,1 Kim Overvad,4,5* and Ole Raaschou-Nielsen1*
1Danish Cancer Society Research Center, Copenhagen, Denmark; 2Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark; 3Department of Environmental Science, Aarhus University, Roskilde, Denmark; 4Section of Epidemiology, Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark; 5Department of Cardiology, Centre for Cardiovascular Research, Aalborg Hospital, Aarhus University Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark
Background: Road traffic noise at normal urban levels can lead to stress and sleep disturbances. Both excess of stress hormones and reduction in sleep quality and duration may lead to higher risk for type 2 diabetes.
Objective: We investigated whether long-term exposure to residential road traffic noise is associated with an increased risk of diabetes.
Methods: In the population-based Danish Diet, Cancer and Health cohort of 57,053 people 50–64 years of age at enrollment in 1993–1997, we identified 3,869 cases of incident diabetes in a national diabetes registry between enrollment and 2006. The mean follow-up time was 9.6 years. Present and historical residential addresses from 1988 through 2006 were identified using a national register, and exposure to road traffic noise was estimated for all addresses. Associations between exposure to road traffic noise and incident diabetes were analyzed in a Cox regression model.
Results: A 10-dB higher level of average road traffic noise at diagnosis and during the 5 years preceding diagnosis was associated with an increased risk of incident diabetes, with incidence rate ratios (IRR) of 1.08 (95% CI: 1.02, 1.14) and 1.11 (95% CI: 1.05, 1.18), respectively, after adjusting for potential confounders including age, body mass index, waist circumference, education, air pollution (nitrogen oxides), and lifestyle characteristics. After applying a stricter definition of diabetes (2,752 cases), we found IRRs of 1.11 (95% CI: 1.03, 1.19) and 1.14 (95% CI: 1.06, 1.22) per 10-dB increase in road traffic noise at diagnosis and during the 5 years preceding diagnosis, respectively.
Conclusion: Exposure to residential road traffic noise was associated with a higher risk of diabetes. This study provides further evidence that urban noise may adversely influence population health.
Key words: air pollution, cohort, diabetes, epidemiology, traffic noise.
Environ Health Perspect 121:217–222 (2013). http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1205503 [Online 10 December 2012]
Address correspondence to M. Sørensen, Danish Cancer Society Research Center, Danish Cancer Society, Strandboulevarden 49, 2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark. Telephone: 45 3525 7626. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
*These authors contributed equally to this study.
Supplemental Material is available online (http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1205503).
The Danish Environmental Protection Agency and the Research Centre for Environmental Health, the Danish Ministry of the Interior and Health, and the European Research Council, EU 7th Research Framework Programme (grant 281760) funded the study.
The authors declare they have no actual or potential competing financial interests.
Received 22 May 2012; Accepted 29 November 2012; Online 10 December 2012.
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