Takeaway Meals Linked To Childhood Asthma

A new study suggests that kids who have three or more fast food meals per week may be at an increased risk of developing asthma.

Picture by marufish

The research, published in science journal Thorax, took questionnaires from over 319,000 13-14 year olds from 107 centres in 51 countries, and more than 181,000 six to seven year olds from 64 centres in 31 countries; all of the participants were also part of a wider study into asthma and allergies in childhood that encompasses nearly two million child participants.

The findings suggest that the increased consumption of fast food may lead to an increased risk of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema across both age groups. In the case of the teenager group, the location and relative affluence level didn't appear to make any difference either. As always, it's a scientific endeavour, which means it's not a proven causal link, but the correlation is a worrying one nonetheless. The authors suggest that it may be linked to lack of meal choices amongst these age groups, as well as noting that fruit consumption may have a role in reducing the severity of asthma symptoms based on the survey responses.

More research is still underway — this isn't yet a direct cause and effect situation — but it does highlight something that should be obvious to everyone; takeaway food shouldn't be an everyday meal choice, because it's not particularly healthy; that's something that even my learned friend below agrees on:

Do fast foods cause asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema? [Thorax]


    Looks like it may be about the allergy angle. Once atopic, the three diseases they focus on may be triggered by other things including infection e.g. viruses for asthma and rhinitis exacerbations. Once allergic, our response to infection may be over the top.
    Sounds a bit like another study from the ISAAC group in 2008 (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18805332) that linked children taking paracetamol to high risk of the same things! These guys don't buy into the fact that infection underpins "attacks" of these diseases it seems. Other things moderate the extent to which that infection may cause an impact in the host.

    Also interesting that 1-2 bits of fruit a week was no more protective than >3 bits. With veges, having more actually slightly lessens the protective effect. Seems strange.

    The press will have there day and everyone will be even more confused about what to eat and do.

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