Eating fast food has been linked to asthma and eczema severity in kids, according to findings published in respiratory journal Thorax.
Fast food diets may be contributing to the rise in these conditions, yet fruit seemed to have a “protective`’ effect.
Professor Innes Asher from the Department of Paediatrics at The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand said: “If the associations 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.”
The findings were based on data from more than 500,000 children from 51 countries aged 6-7 or 13-14 year olds.
Parents were asked about symptoms of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis (which produces a runny or blocked nose accompanied by itchy and watery eyes) and eczema, in their children, as well as their weekly diet.
The analysis showed that fast food was the only food type which could be associated with symptoms.
Three or more weekly servings of fast food were linked to a 39% increased risk of severe asthma among teenagers and a 27% increased risk among children in every country.
However, eating three or more weekly portions of fruit was linked to a reduction in symptom severity of between 11% and 14% among teenagers and children, respectively.