Childhood asthma linked to Western diet

A new study from New Zealand has concluded that children who eat hamburgers, even just once a week, are twice as likely to develop asthma and wheezing problems.

A new study from New Zealand has concluded that children who eat hamburgers, even just once a week, are twice as likely to develop asthma and wheezing problems.

by Joanne Henning Tedesco —  

Parents, please beware. A new study from New Zealand has concluded that children who eat hamburgers, even just once a week, are twice as likely to develop asthma and wheezing problems. Specifically, kids who eat one hamburger a week are 75 percent more likely to have asthma and 100 percent more likely to have wheezing problems.

It is not just hamburgers — many foods you might purchase at a fast-food restaurant, including soda pop, were found to increase the risk of asthma, according to the researchers at the Wellington Asthma Research Group based at the Wellington Medical School in New Zealand.

The conclusions were drawn from the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood, a research project that recorded diet and corresponding asthma symptoms of 1,321 children between the ages of 10 and 12.

The results are surprising: Compared with children who never ate hamburgers, those who did frequently had a much higher risk of experiencing asthma symptoms. Conversely, those with a higher incidence of asthma ate more hamburgers.

Why hamburgers? According to study leader Dr. Kristen Wickens, it could be that the high salt content in hamburgers boosts the risk of asthma. Primary causes of asthma have long been suspected to be the high-fat Western diet, a higher standard of living and decreased physical activity.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2003 asthma in the United States caused:

  • 12.7 million doctor visits
  • 1.2 million hospital outpatient visits
  • 1.9 million emergency department visits
  • 484,000 hospitalizations
  • 4,261 deaths

Source: The study findings were published in the journal Allergy.

 

Joanne Henning Tedesco is editor of AzNetNews.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 25, Number 1, February/March 2006.

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