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New diet link to childhood asthma

New research has reinforced the belief that the diet of pregnant women plays a significant role in the chances of their children developing asthma.

A seven-year study by University College Dublin (UCD) found a direct link between a child's health and the eating habits of mothers.

The Lifeways Cross Generational Study on health status in Ireland looked at almost 40,000 people and measured a range of social and dietary issues.

The UCD research found the more fruit, vegetables and oily fish pregnant mothers eat, the less likely a child is to develop asthma by the age of three.

But expectant mothers who consume relatively high spreadable fats have a higher risk of having a child with the respiratory condition, it added.

The authors said: "These findings warrant further investigation as they imply an important role for maternal diet in childhood asthma."

The research also found an "inherent problem" of eating disorders among schoolchildren in Ireland, particularly adolescent girls.

It looked at 2,469 children and almost a third were underweight, and more disturbingly, more than one in 10 of that group thought they were too fat.

University College Dublin

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