New research suggests that eating three or more burgers a week may put children at risk of developing asthma, whereas eating a mediterranean diet may lower the risk.
Researchers writing in the journal Thorax have looked at 50 000 children from 20 countries in a 10 year study. Parents of children from wealthy and poorer countries were asked about their children’s diets and whether they had ever been diagnosed with asthma or had suffered wheezing.
Researchers found that the effects of their diet seemed to vary depending on where they lived. Fruit and vegetables were seen to be more protective in less affluent parts of the world, whilst eating lots of fish was more helpful in richer countries. Eating at least three burgers a week was linked to a greater risk of asthma and wheezing, but only in wealthier countries.
Author Dr Gabriele Nagel suggests that this may be because asthma is a collection of symptoms rather than a single condition, and different things may trigger in different parts of the world. The paper also sugggested that a diet rich in fruit and vegetables may be helpful because of the protective effects of antioxidants.
Dr Elaine Vickers, research relations manager at Asthma UK said ‘Previous studies have shown that a Mediterranean – style diet rich in fruit and vegetables can help to reduce a child’s risk of developing asthma symptoms. Our advice to parents is therefore to ensure that children eat a healthy, balanced diet and also get plenty of exercise.’
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