Children and teenagers who eat fast food three times a week are more likely to experience asthma, eczema, and severe symptoms such as wheezing, runny nose and eyes, and itchy skin, according to researchers who have looked at global disease and dietary patterns.
For the study, researchers looked at data on more than 181,000 children between the ages of 6 and 7 from 31 countries, along with the data on 319,000 children between 13 and 14 years of age collected from 51 countries. They were all enrolled in a study that tracked asthma and allergies in children. According to the study, children in their early teens who ate three or more weekly servings of fast food had a 39% increased risk of severe asthma. Six- and seven-year-olds had a 27% increased risk. Eating three or more portions of fruit a week cut the risk of severe asthma, eczema and rhinoconjunctivitis by between 11 and 14 percent. Fast food, such as burgers, pizza and hot-dogs, often contains high levels of saturated- and trans-fatty acids, which are known to affect immunity, while fruit is rich in antioxidants and other beneficial compounds, researchers added. The authors of the study, Prof. Innes Asher, from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and Prof. Hywel Williams, from the University of Nottingham in the UK, said, "If the associations between fast foods and the symptom prevalence of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema is causal, then the findings have major public health significance owing to the rising consumption of fast foods globally." However, it is not clear whether the extra risk is caused by junk foods or a relative lack of fresh fruits and vegetables in the diet, which are known to reduce the chances of breathing problems. Source: Voice of Russia