Make you Fink on Friday

Fast food and takeaways linked to surge in child asthma and allergies

Teenagers more likely to have severe asthma and eczema if they eat fast food more than three times a week, study shows

Fast food was the only type of food associated with asthma and allergies across all ranges and countries, the study shows. Photograph: Martin Godwin for the Guardian

A diet of fast food and takeaways may be behind the steady surge in children’s asthma and allergies affecting the UK and other developed countries, according to a study.

An international collaboration of scientists has found that young teenagers in particular are nearly 40% more likely to have severe asthma if they eat burgers and other types of fast food more than three times a week. Children aged six to seven had an increased risk of 27%. Children eating fast food were also more likely to get severe eczema and rhinitis – a condition where the nose blocks or runs and the eyes are itchy and water.

The scientists, from New Zealand, Spain, Australia and Germany as well as Nottingham in the UK, say their study could have “major public health significance owing to the rising consumption of fast foods globally” if the link they have found turns out not to be coincidence but causal.

The good news was that eating fruit appeared to protect young people from asthma and allergies. Eating three or more portions a week reduced the severity of the symptoms by 11% among teenagers and 14% among younger children.

 

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