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Does fast food cause asthma in kids?

A new study in the respiratory journal Thorax suggests that thrice weekly trips to the drive-thru may do more than widen the waistline of our youth.

A new study in the respiratory journal Thorax suggests that thrice weekly trips to the drive-thru may do more than widen the waistline of our youth.
A new study in the respiratory journal Thorax suggests that thrice weekly trips to the drive-thru may do more than widen the waistline of our youth.

Fast food associated with health problems

Researchers found that eating three or more weekly servings of fast food is linked to the severity of allergic asthma, eczema, and rhinitis among children in the developed world.

All participants in the recent journal study were involved in the Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood, a collaborative research project involving more than 100 countries and nearly 2 million children.

The children and their parents were formally quizzed on whether they had symptoms of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis, and eczema as well as on their weekly diet. Questions focused on the severity of symptoms over the past year and certain types of food.

The analysis showed that fast food was the only type of food to show the same associations with current and severe symptoms

Three or more weekly servings of fast food were linked to 39% increased risk of severe asthma among teens and a 27% increased risk among children as well as to the severity of rhinitis and eczema, overall.

The authors suggest that the correlation between fast food and these health issues may have to do with the high levels of saturated and trans fatty acids in fast foods. These unhealthy fats are known to negatively affect immunity.

On the other hand, researchers also found that fruit consumption seemed to a protective factor. Three or more weekly servings was linked to a redution of symptoms. Fruit is rich in antioxidants and other beneficial compounds that boost health.

Not that you need more convincing that your vegan diet is healthier than the fast food diet, but research can certainly help you convince others that they need to eat more plant-based foods and take fewer trips to the drive-thru.

For more information on the study, visit Thorax.BMJ.com.

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