Research Reveals Link Between Fast Food And Asthma

An international team of researchers has uncovered a link between the consumption of fast food and asthma in young people. The same research also suggests there is an increased chance of suffering rhinoconjunctivitis (inflammation of nose and eye) and eczema in adolescents and children who regularly ate certain foods.


Their findings suggest that children who eat the likes of hamburgers three or more times a week are 39% more likely to develop severe asthma while younger children face an increased risk up to 27% when consuming a similar amount of the fast food.


Asthma is an increasingly common condition among children. It is caused by inflammation of the airways that leads to breathing difficulties, tightness in the chest, wheezing and coughing. There is no cure for asthma nor is there consensus on what causes the condition, although environmental factors are known to play some part in its development.


The latest research, published in the British Medical Journal on January 14th, is reported in Phase Three of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood. The researchers tested the hypothesis that consuming certain foods could increase or decrease the risk of developing asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema. Their study involved 181,000 children aged 6-7 and 319,000 teenagers aged 13-14 in 50 different countries. Each completed a questionnaire on the symptoms of the three conditions and then was quizzed on their food intake over the last year.


The research team then analysed the results to determine if there was any association between allergic disorders and junk food. They concluded that adolescents and children who ate fast food three or more times a week faced an increased risk of developing severe asthma. Analysis of the regional results showed similar patterns emerging in both age groups and when the researchers took gender and affluence into account, the results remained consistent with the symptoms of the three examined conditions.

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