Early-life external exposome in children 2–5 years old in Colombia

Diana Marín, Xavier Basagaña, Ferney Amaya, Luis Miguel Aristizábal, Diego Alejandro Muñoz, Alan Domínguez, Francisco Molina, Carlos Daniel Ramos, Ricardo Morales-Betancourt, Roberto Hincapié, Laura Rodríguez-Villamizar, Yurley Rojas, Olga Morales, Martha Cuellar, Andrea Corredor, Milena Villamil-Osorio, María Alejandra Bejarano, Dolly Vidal, Diana M. Narváez, Helena GrootJuan José Builes, Lucelly López, Enrique Antonio Henao, Verónica Lopera, Luis Jorge Hernández, Shrikant I. Bangdiwala, Beatriz Marín-Ochoa, Ana Isabel Oviedo, Oscar Eduardo Sánchez-García, María Victoria Toro, Will Riaño, Zulma Vanessa Rueda

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle in an indexed scientific journalpeer-review


    Exposome studies are advancing in high-income countries to understand how multiple environmental exposures impact health. However, there is a significant research gap in low- and middle-income and tropical countries. We aimed to describe the spatiotemporal variation of the external exposome, its correlation structure between and within exposure groups, and its dimensionality. A one-year follow-up cohort study of 506 children under 5 in two cities in Colombia was conducted to evaluate asthma, acute respiratory infections, and DNA damage. We examined 48 environmental exposures during pregnancy and 168 during childhood in eight exposure groups, including atmospheric pollutants, natural spaces, meteorology, built environment, traffic, indoor exposure, and socioeconomic capital. The exposome was estimated using geographic information systems, remote sensing, spatiotemporal modeling, and questionnaires. The median age of children at study entry was 3.7 years (interquartile range: 2.9–4.3). Air pollution and natural spaces exposure decreased from pregnancy to childhood, while socioeconomic capital increased. The highest median correlations within exposure groups were observed in meteorology (r = 0.85), traffic (r = 0.83), and atmospheric pollutants (r = 0.64). Important correlations between variables from different exposure groups were found, such as atmospheric pollutants and meteorology (r = 0.76), natural spaces (r = −0.34), and the built environment (r = 0.53). Twenty principal components explained 70%, and 57 explained 95% of the total variance in the childhood exposome. Our findings show that there is an important spatiotemporal variation in the exposome of children under 5. This is the first characterization of the external exposome in urban areas of Latin America and highlights its complexity, but also the need to better characterize and understand the exposome in order to optimize its analysis and applications in local interventions aimed at improving the health conditions and well-being of the child population and contributing to environmental health decision-making.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number118913
    JournalEnvironmental Research
    StatePublished - Jul 2024

    Bibliographical note

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2024 The Authors


    • Children
    • Environmental exposure
    • Exposome
    • Latin America
    • Pregnancy


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