Fast food asthma and neurodermatitis

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Fast food increases the risk of allergic diseases such as asthma or hay fever

Fast food increases the risk of asthma, hay fever and atopic dermatitis, whereas eating fruit counteracts these diseases, according to one of the main results of the recently published "Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood" (ISAAC). As early as the 1990s, scientists began surveying 720,000 children in 56 countries. Among other things, the researchers wanted to know what connections exist between the children's diet and the occurrence of asthma and allergies.

So far, the data of almost two million children from more than a hundred countries have been recorded and evaluated at ISAAC. The results now published in the specialist magazine "Thorax" show a worrying connection between children's fast food consumption and the occurrence of allergic diseases such as asthma, hay fever or neurodermatitis (atopic eczema). For example, children who consumed fast food products at least three times a week were at a significantly higher risk of becoming ill. However, the increased consumption of fruit countered the risk of illness. The ISAAC is the largest epidemiological study on childhood allergic diseases to date. German scientists from the universities of Münster and Ulm were also involved in the study.

Relationship between eating habits and allergy risk As part of the study, the scientists led by Philippa Ellwood from the University of Auckland in New Zealand examined the eating habits and symptoms of allergic skin and respiratory diseases in children. The spread of asthma, hay fever and eczema, as well as the type and frequency of food consumption in the last twelve months in 13- to 14-year-old adolescents and in six- to seven-year-old children were determined using a written questionnaire. A large number of individual foods were queried, but there was only a clear connection with allergic respiratory and skin diseases for the consumption of fast food and fruit. For example, 13- to 14-year-olds who consumed fast food three or more times a week were at 39 percent higher risk of asthma. The six- to seven-year-olds with the corresponding fast food consumption showed a 27 percent higher risk of serious asthma diseases. For adolescents who eat fruit three or more times a week, the symptoms of these symptoms were reduced by eleven to fourteen percent, the scientists report.

Causal connection has not yet been clearly established The clear connection between the consumption of fast food and the occurrence of asthma and Co. illustrates the weaknesses in eating habits in modern industrialized nations in an alarming manner. However, the researchers have so far not been able to prove a causal relationship between fast food consumption and illnesses. Further studies are needed here to investigate possible connections. "If the connections between fast food dishes and allergic symptoms are causal, our results are of great importance for public health, as fast food consumption is increasing worldwide," the researchers concluded.

Almost with different negative effects on health The consumption of fast food has already been shown in previous studies to have numerous negative effects on the human organism. In addition to the increased allergy risk, the increased occurrence of depression and excessive consumption of fast food products by scientists from the Universities of Las Palmas, Granada and Navarra can be mentioned here, for example. A study by researchers at the University of California at San Diego in June 2012 also concluded that increased consumption of trans fats "can be associated with negative behaviors such as impatience or open aggression". The weight problems that many people develop due to fast food consumption are another negative aspect of this unhealthy diet. Ultimately, consumers should ideally forego the fast food diet altogether, or at least only consume it in exceptional cases, in view of the current scientific knowledge in terms of their own health. (fp)

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Image: Rudolf Ortner /

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