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Fast Food May Lead to Allergic Diseases in Children

14/01/2013 | By Sharmila Chauhan

Children who eat fast food more than three times are week may be more likely to develop allergic diseases such as asthma, eczema, and rhinitis according to researchers of a large international study published today in the medical journal  Thorax.
The study looked at data from more than 319,000 13-14 year olds from 51 countries, and more than 181,000 six to seven year olds from 31 countries. Participants were asked to keep a food diary and also report about whether they had symptoms of three allergic conditions: asthma (wheeze); rhinoconjunctivitis (runny or blocked nose together with itchy and watery eyes); and eczema.

Data from the study suggested that when the children ate fast foods, they were more likely to allergic conditions. In the teen group this amount of fast food resulted in severe symptoms of all three conditions. In the children group, the pattern was less clear-cut, but there was still an association between fast food and symptoms of allergic conditions.

Overall the results showed that three or more weekly servings of fast food were linked to:
• Almost a 40% increase risk of severe asthma among teens
• Almost a 30% increased risk of severe asthma
• An increased risk of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema in all age groups. 

The good news is that fruit seemed to be protective in both age groups. Eating three or more weekly portions was linked to a reduction in symptoms of allergic conditions.