Everyone knows that fast food is bad for you. Research is finding out that it's especially hurtful to children and can cause or exasperate health issues including asthma and rhinitis.
Eating more than three servings of junk food or fast food on a weekly basis has been linked with serious cases of asthma in children.
The research, from the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood, has found that fast food and processed foods and a diet absent of fruits and vegetables is putting children at risk for health problems.
Teens are almost 40% more likely to develop severe asthma if they eat over three portions of fast food every week, while this risk falls to just under 30% in children under 13 years of age.
The respiratory journal Thorax reported that children that eat junk food regularly are also at a higher risk of severe rhinitis. Rhinitis is an illness with cold-like symptoms and eye irritation.
The authors stated that this direct relationship should be studied more and if there is enough evidence that prompt widespread review and health advice is necessary.
The study involved 319,000 participants, aged 13 and 14, of 51 nationalities; and 181,000, aged six and seven, of 31 nationalities.
The researchers said: “If the association between fast foods and the symptom prevalence of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema is causal, then the findings have major public health significance owing to the rising consumption of fast foods globally.”
Malayka Rahman, research analysis and communications officer at Asthma UK, said “This research adds to previous studies that suggest a person’s diet can contribute to their risk of developing asthma, and indicates the benefit of further research to determine the effects that particular food groups can have on the chances of developing asthma, or the impact it may have on severity.”
Rahman also stated that nutrients found in fresh vegetables and fruit could help reduce the symptoms of asthma.
Asthma UK recommends that individuals with asthma should eat 5 daily servings of fresh fruit or vegetables and fish at least 3 times a week.
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