The head of respiratory trials at The George Institute for Global Health said evidence was mounting that fast foods put children at risk of asthma and allergic disease.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – The scientists, from New Zealand, Spain, Australia, Germany and Britain, found when young teenagers ate burgers and other types of fast foods more than three times a week were more prone to severe asthma attack. The researchers said their study could have ''major public health significance owing to the rising consumption of fast foods.'' The head of respiratory trials at The George Institute for Global Health, Christine Jenkins, said evidence was mounting that fast foods put children at risk of asthma and allergic disease.
She said it was particularly convincing because the study covered so many children from so many countries; 319000, 13-14 year-olds from 51 countries and 181000 six to seven year olds from 31 countries. "Often a mother with a family history of asthma will ask 'what can I do to reduce the chance of my child having asthma', and I think you could say that children who eat more fruit and vegetables are more likely to have good lung function," said Professor Jenkins.
The study found the risk of severe asthma increased by 27 per cent in the younger children who regularly ate fast food, and they were also more likely to get severe eczema and rhinitis. Charles Mackay, a Monash University expert in the role of diet in human disease, said the data was a "tour de force", and supported other emerging research linking allergies to diet rather than hygiene. Laurence Macia, also from Monash, said people who ate a lot of fast foods could be missing out on the protective effects from healthy foods. "We do believe that fibre plays a very good anti-inflammatory role in the body," she said.
The research, published in the journal “Thorax”, came from the biggest study of children, called the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood. The paper said the link between fast foods and asthma, allergies could be related to higher saturated fatty acids, trans fatty acids, sodium, carbohydrates, sugar or preservatives. Fast foods have high levels of industrially hydrogenated vegetable fats such as margarine, which can be a source of trans fatty acids ''and there is some evidence that dietary intake of trans fatty acids is associated with asthma and allergy'', the authors said.