Allergic to junk

A new study has found a possible link between junk food and an increased risk among children of developing asthma, eczema and some childhood allergies. The massive research involved more than 319,000 teenagers from across 51 countries and more than 181,000 children (six to seven years old) from across 31 countries. The results suggest that eating fast food three or more times a week could lead to developing asthma, eczema and rhinoconjunctivitis (a condition characterised by runny or congested nose, sneezing, itchy and irritated eyes). Teenagers who ate three or more servings of fast food were 39 per cent more likely to suffer from severe asthma, while in younger children the risk was 27 per cent. On the other hand, children who ate fruit three or more times a week were 15 per cent less likely to develop the above health issues. The study did not differentiate between the types of junk food but the authors stated that the link is likely to be related to higher content of saturated fat, trans (hydrogenated) fat, sodium and sugar levels in fast food and probably also preservatives.

Ellwood, P., Innes Asher, M., García-Marcos, L., et al., 2013. Do fast foods cause asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema? Global findings from the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) Phase Three. Thorax.  68 (4) 351-60.