Research published recently in Thorax journal indicates an association between children eating fast food, such as burgers, three times a week or more, and an increased risk of developing asthma, eczema, and allergic symptoms like itching, watering eyes. However, eating a diet rich in fruit can counteract the effect of the fast food, and reduce the symptoms that children experience. Scientists believe this is because of the healthy, antioxidant-full nature of fruit, and the high levels of trans-fats and saturated fats found in fast food that are proven to impact immunity. While asthma sufferers do not have to eat a restricted diet, sometimes foods including dairy, shellfish, fish, yeast products, nuts, and some food colorings and preservatives can worsen asthmatic symptoms. This new research leads doctors to recommend that children with asthma eat a diet high in fruit for its protective effects.
The study, completed by Professor Innes Asher of the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and Professor Hywel Williams for the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom, collected data from over 500,000 children spread across 50 different nations. The findings showed that in teenagers, eating fast food three or more times weekly increases risk of asthma up to 39%. Six and seven year olds consuming a similar amount of fast food experienced a more modest 27% increase in severe asthma risk. At the same time, eating three or more servings of fruit cut the risk of experiencing any of the disorders, asthma, eczema, and rhinoconjunctivitis between 11% and 15%. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and seafood can decrease this risk. If fast food is causing this increased risk, it is an issue bound to impact public health worldwide, as global consumption of food from chains like McDonald’s only continues to grow.