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Air_pollution_main report_WEB

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To make the injustice worse, poorer people often can't afford to move away and leave the problem to someone else – and they may not want to. People in low-income areas need more resources and opportunities to create a healthy local environment. Key facts • The body's defences against hazards like air pollution are partly controlled by our genes. • Older people are more vulnerable to the harmful effects of air pollution. • There is evidence that air pollution can also harm the health of children, starting from the time they are in the womb. • Some health problems, such as heart and lung conditions, can make a person more vulnerable to harm from air pollution. • Being overweight can also make people more vulnerable to the harmful effects of air pollution, while a diet that is rich in antioxidant nutrients (such as many vitamins), or which includes vitamin and mineral supplements, may give some protection. • Poorer people can often find it easier to buy cheap, unhealthy foods than a healthy diet, which puts them at a significant disadvantage. • Poorer people also tend to live in environments where they are more exposed to air pollution, for example from busy roads or in unhealthy housing. • All of these disadvantages add up, so poorer people are at a greater risk from air pollution and its damaging health consequences. © Royal College of Physicians 2016 67 5 Summary

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