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Fast food increases asthma, eczema risk in children

Researchers have warned that eating fast food several times a week can significantly extend the risk of severe asthma, eczema and watery eyes in children.

Fast food which often contains high levels of saturated- and trans-fatty acids affects immune system of the body, suggested by the researchers who have observed global disease and dietary patterns.

They studied over 500,000 children in more than 50 countries who had poor diet mainly due to eating fast food such as take-away burgers several times a week.

The study indicated that children in their early teens who ate three or more weekly servings of fast food had a 39% increased risk of severe asthma while those kids at the age of six and seven had a 27% increased risk, according to Thorax journal.

Researchers also stressed that consuming plenty of fruit, as it is rich in antioxidants and other beneficial compounds, can be protective against the disease.

Eating three or more portions of fruit a week has been proven to reduce the risk of asthma, eczema and rhinoconjunctivitis by between 11% and 14%, researchers suggest.

While in some cases, certain foods such as cow's milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, yeast products, nuts develop asthma symptoms, people with asthma are not recommended to follow a special diet, the experts say.

"Evidence suggests that the vitamins and antioxidants found in fresh fruit and vegetables have a beneficial effect on asthma,” said the study researcher Malayka Rahman of Asthma UK.

Eating a healthy, balanced diet including five portions of fruit or vegetables every day, fish more than twice a week, and food pulses such as beans, peas, and lentils more than once a week can be useful for the people who are suffering from asthma, Rahman noted.

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