In a very large study that involved two million children from 100 countries, scientists found a direct link between the regular consumption of fast food and eczema, asthma and rhinoconjunctivitis. The results of their research were published in the journal Thorax.
Fast food and health
Researchers worked with about 319,000 children aged 13 to 14, from 51 countries and 181,000 kids aged six to seven from 31 countries. Children had very different eating habits and came from many different cultures. The goal of the scientists was to find the link between their nutrition and symptoms of diseases such as asthma, eczema and rhinoconjunctivitis (runny or clogged nose, itchy and watery eyes.)
Among the children with notable symptoms of the three conditions, the only nutritional link the researchers found was their consumption of fast food. The conclusion was that the regular consumption of fast food increases children’s risk of asthma and eczema. The results were the same in both age groups, regardless of their income level, gender or country of origin.
Teenagers who consumed three or more portions of fast food every week had 39 percents more risk of serious asthma and eczema. Among smaller children, the risk was increased by 27 percents.
Interestingly, scientists found that eating fruit three times or more per week reduced the severity of symptoms of asthma and eczema by 11 to 14 percent.
The conclusion of the study was that the fast food, which is rich in saturated and trans fatty acids negatively affects the immune response. Antioxidants in fruit countered this effect.
While scientists did not claim the cause and effect relationship between the fast food and three diseases, this association has such important significance on public health that it merits further research.
Another interesting study confirmed these findings, by proving that fast food consumption counters all the benefits breast feeding has on children.