Disaggregating the effects of daytime and nighttime light exposures on obesity, overweight, prostate and breast cancer morbidity worldwide

Maram Sirhan-Atalla, Nahum M. Gabinet, Boris A. Portnov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Hormone-dependent cancers and overweight/obesity are not necessarily linked but might have similar underlying causes, such as circadian disruption, lack of physical activity, and unhealthy nutrition. Several empirical studies also attribute the rise in these types of morbidity to vitamin D deficiency, linked in turn to insufficient sunlight exposure. Other studies place an emphasis on melatonin (MLT) hormone suppression, associated with artificial light at night (ALAN) exposure. Yet no studies, carried out to date, have attempted to determine which of these environmental risk factors is associated stronger with the morbidity types in question. In this study, we aim to narrow this knowledge gap by analyzing data available for 100+ countries worldwide, while controlling ALAN and solar radiation exposure estimates by several potential confounders, such as GDPpc, GINI inequality index and unhealthy food consumption. As the study reveals, all the morbidity types under analysis are significantly and positively associated with ALAN exposure estimates (p < 0.05), while solar radiation appears to be significantly associated with prostate cancer rates only (p < 0.05), but not with breast cancer or overweight/obesity rates (p > 0.1). To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first that separates the effects of ALAN and daylight exposures on the abovementioned types of morbidity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-514
Number of pages32
JournalChronobiology International
Volume40
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Keywords

  • Artificial light at night (ALAN)
  • breast cancer (BC)
  • overweight/obesity
  • prostate cancer (PC)
  • solar radiation
  • vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology (medical)
  • Physiology

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