Burgers Push Up Risk of Asthma among Children; CHILDHOOD DIET VITAL TO GOOD LUNGS, SAYS STUDY

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), June 3, 2010 | Go to article overview

Burgers Push Up Risk of Asthma among Children; CHILDHOOD DIET VITAL TO GOOD LUNGS, SAYS STUDY


Byline: MADELEINE BRINDLEY

CHILDREN who eat more than three burgers a week could have a greater risk of developing asthma, research reveals today.

A new study also said a Mediterranean diet, which is rich in fruit and vegetables and fish, appears to protect against the risk of asthma and wheeze.

The findings lend weight to claims the Mediterranean diet is beneficial to health.

And they could help explain why Wales has one of the highest rates of childhood asthma - and childhood obesity - in the world.

The German study was based on data collected between 1995 and 2005 on 50,000 children aged eight to 12 who lived in 20 rich and poor countries.

Their parents were asked about their child's normal diet and whether they had ever been diagnosed with asthma or suffered wheeze.

Just under 30,000 of the children were tested for allergic reactions, to see if diet also influenced their chances of developing allergies.

The researchers found that diet did not seem to be associated with becoming sensitised to common allergens, such as grass and tree pollen. But it did appear to influence the prevalence of asthma.

High fruit intake was associated with a low rate of wheeze among children from rich and poor countries.

And a diet high in fish protected children in rich countries, while a diet rich in fruit and green vegetables protected children against wheeze in poor countries.

Overall, the researchers said a Mediterranean diet - high in fruit, vegetables and fish - was associated with less asthma.

They also found that eating three or more burgers a week was associated with a higher lifetime prevalence of asthma and wheeze, particularly among children with no allergies in rich countries. But, conversely, a heavy meat diet had no bearing on the prevalence of asthma.

The authors, writing in the journal Thorax, said: "Fruit and vegetables contain antioxidants and other biologically active factors which may contribute to the favourable effect of fruit consumption in asthma. …

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