Could Fast Food Be Linked To Child Asthma And Eczema?

You know that too much fast food can be a problem for your child’s weight, but a new study has shown that eating junk may do even more damage to his wellness. According to a team of international researchers, who published their study in the peer-reviewed journal Thorax, frequent fast food consumption can cause child asthma and allergies.


Over the past few decades, there has been a surge in allergic conditions though no one quite knew why. The team hypothesised that changes to traditional diets in the developed world since World War Two may be partially responsible, and so carried out The International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) study, which was a multi-centre, international, cross-sectional study looking at the links between diet and asthma, eczema, rhinoconjunctivitis (stuffy or runny nose and watery eyes). These are three allergy-related conditions in adolescents and children.


The study found that if your child eats fast food three or more times a week, his or her wellbeing is significantly more at risk to what the team defined as severe asthma, severe rhinoconjunctivitis or severe eczema. At the other end of the scale, if your child eats fruit at least three times per week, this is significantly associated with a decreased risk of severe asthma. They also discovered that milk reduces rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema when your child consumes it once or twice per week, and severe asthma, eczema and rhinoconjunctivitis when consumed at least three times per week.


Interestingly, for adolescents, it was found that there’s an association between eating butter, margarine and pasta at least three times per week and an increased risk of all three conditions (current and severe), whilst in children pasta was seen to be a ‘protective food. This means that along with eggs, fruit, cereals, meat, milk, nuts, potato, pulses, rice, seafood, and vegetables, it was associated with a reduced risk of at least one condition without being associated with an increased risk of any condition.


However, it’s important to note that whilst the team found a link between diet and these conditions, these associations are not proof of direct cause and effect. There could also be other underlying factors associated with both diet and risk of these allergic conditions, like socioeconomic status, for example, which could explain the associations seen. Yet, certainly it is no bad idea to encourage your kids to eat fresh fruit and vegetables regularly, and to lay off the fast food.

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