In the JournalsPerspective

Fast food consumption linked to asthma, eczema

Eating fast foods, particularly hamburgers, three or more times a week correlated to asthma in a dose-response pattern, according to a systematic review recently published in Respirology. 

“It has been hypothesized that the consumption of fast foods may exacerbate the development and progression of asthma and allergic diseases. However, the data available to date are heterogeneous,” Cheng S. Wang of the department of integrated traditional Chinese and Western medicine at Sichuan University in China and colleagues wrote.

Researchers reviewed 16 studies published from 2001 to 2015 containing between 144 and 530,678 participants for their analysis. They found that eating fast foods was significantly related to:

  • current asthma (adjusted OR = 1.58; 95% CI, 1.17-2.13 for the case-control studies and aOR = 1.58; 95% CI: 1.1-2.26 for the cross-sectional studies);
  • asthma ever (aOR = 1.36; 95% CI, 1.06-1.75);
  • severe asthma (aOR = 1.34; 95% CI, 1.23-1.46);
  • wheeze ever (aOR = 1.65; 95% CI: 1.07-2.52);
  • current wheeze (aOR =1.21; 95% CI, 1.16-1.27);
  • physician-diagnosed allergic rhinitis (OR = 1.43; 95% CI, 1.05-1.95);
  • severe rhino-conjunctivitis (aOR = 1.54; 95% CI: 1.18-2); and
  • severe eczema (aOR = 1.51; 95% CI, 1.16-1.96).

Researchers also found that eating hamburgers was linked to:

  • current asthma (aOR = 1.59; 95% CI, 1.13-2.25);
  • severe asthma (aOR = 1.34; 95% CI, 1.23-1.46);
  • asthma ever (aOR = 1.47; 95% CI, 1.13-1.92);
  • severe rhino-conjunctivitis (aOR = 1.54; 95% CI, 1.18-2);
  • rhino-conjunctivitis (aOR = 1.21; 95% CI, 1.15-1.27); and
  • severe eczema (aOR = 1.51; 95% CI, 1.16-1.96).
Fast food
Eating fast foods, particularly hamburgers, three or more times a week correlated to asthma in a dose-response pattern, according to a systematic review recently published in Respirology.
Photo source:Adobe

“Given the quality of studies included, further longitudinal cohort and intervention studies are needed to confirm these relationships and identify causal associations between the consumption of fast foods and asthma/wheeze and other allergic diseases, which could in some degree explain the increasing prevalence of these diseases and offer a potential intervention strategy,” they concluded. – by Janel Miller

Disclosure: Healio Family Medicine was unable to confirm the authors’ relevant financial disclosures prior to publication.

 

Eating fast foods, particularly hamburgers, three or more times a week correlated to asthma in a dose-response pattern, according to a systematic review recently published in Respirology. 

“It has been hypothesized that the consumption of fast foods may exacerbate the development and progression of asthma and allergic diseases. However, the data available to date are heterogeneous,” Cheng S. Wang of the department of integrated traditional Chinese and Western medicine at Sichuan University in China and colleagues wrote.

Researchers reviewed 16 studies published from 2001 to 2015 containing between 144 and 530,678 participants for their analysis. They found that eating fast foods was significantly related to:

  • current asthma (adjusted OR = 1.58; 95% CI, 1.17-2.13 for the case-control studies and aOR = 1.58; 95% CI: 1.1-2.26 for the cross-sectional studies);
  • asthma ever (aOR = 1.36; 95% CI, 1.06-1.75);
  • severe asthma (aOR = 1.34; 95% CI, 1.23-1.46);
  • wheeze ever (aOR = 1.65; 95% CI: 1.07-2.52);
  • current wheeze (aOR =1.21; 95% CI, 1.16-1.27);
  • physician-diagnosed allergic rhinitis (OR = 1.43; 95% CI, 1.05-1.95);
  • severe rhino-conjunctivitis (aOR = 1.54; 95% CI: 1.18-2); and
  • severe eczema (aOR = 1.51; 95% CI, 1.16-1.96).

Researchers also found that eating hamburgers was linked to:

  • current asthma (aOR = 1.59; 95% CI, 1.13-2.25);
  • severe asthma (aOR = 1.34; 95% CI, 1.23-1.46);
  • asthma ever (aOR = 1.47; 95% CI, 1.13-1.92);
  • severe rhino-conjunctivitis (aOR = 1.54; 95% CI, 1.18-2);
  • rhino-conjunctivitis (aOR = 1.21; 95% CI, 1.15-1.27); and
  • severe eczema (aOR = 1.51; 95% CI, 1.16-1.96).

“Our study, for the first time, has systematically assessed the relationship between the consumption of fast foods and asthma/wheeze and other allergic diseases,” Wang and colleagues wrote.

Fast food
Eating fast foods, particularly hamburgers, three or more times a week correlated to asthma in a dose-response pattern, according to a systematic review recently published in Respirology.
Photo source:Adobe

“Given the quality of studies included, further longitudinal cohort and intervention studies are needed to confirm these relationships and identify causal associations between the consumption of fast foods and asthma/wheeze and other allergic diseases, which could in some degree explain the increasing prevalence of these diseases and offer a potential intervention strategy,” they concluded. – by Janel Miller

Disclosure: Healio Family Medicine was unable to confirm the authors’ relevant financial disclosures prior to publication.

 

    Perspective
    Kristi King

    Kristi King

    This study shows that fast food consumption correlates to asthma. This means that the more fast food consumed, the higher the incidence of asthma. Research also shows that those with a higher BMI carry a higher risk of developing asthma. That begs the question as to whether it is a causal effect? Is the frequent fast food consumption leading to higher BMIs in our children thus leading to asthma, or is the fast food directly leading to asthma? It raises a great point that other studies should be conducted to see the causal relationship. It should be pointed out that this is a review of studies that took place in various countries, many of which are countries that traditionally have not been exposed to typical fast food options as frequently as other countries, such as the United States, so we have to be careful extrapolating the data to all populations. A set definition should be used for fast food, which in this case it has not been. Many fast food restaurants have made strides at making healthier options for adults as well as children such as grilled chicken nuggets, apple slices and low-fat milk. Pediatricians can use this study to emphasize the fact that balance is the key. It is unrealistic to think that families will not eat out, so this opens the door for a conversation about what are appropriate choices when consuming fast food. Informing the parents about over-consuming fast food and the causal relationship that may have to their health as well as their child's health such as increased BMI and possibly asthma is warranted.

    • Kristi King, MPH, RDN, CNSC, LD
    • senior clinical dietitian, Texas Children’s Hospital

    Disclosures: King reports no relevant financial disclosures.

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