Research based on the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) Phase Three has reportedly linked fast food consumption to asthma and eczema severity in kids. Philippa Ellwood, et al., “Do fast foods cause asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema? Global findings from the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) Phase Three,” Thorax, January 2013. Analyzing data from more than 319,000 13- to 14-year-old adolescents in 51 countries and more than 181,000 6- to 7-year-old children in 31 countries, the study evidently relied on written questionnaires that asked participants about their asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema symptoms, as well as their dietary habits.

In addition to “a potential protective effect on severe asthma… associated
with consumption of fruit ≥3 times per week,” the results allegedly found
that children and adolescents who consumed fast food three or more times
per week had an increased risk of severe asthma, severe rhinoconjunctivitis
and severe eczema. “If the association 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,” concludes the study’s abstract, which noted that
“similar patterns for both ages were observed for regional analyses, and were
consistent with gender and affluence categories and with current symptoms
of all three conditions.”

“Three or more weekly servings [of fast food] were linked to a 39% increased
risk of severe asthma among teens and a 27% increased risk among children,
as well as to the severity of rhinitis and eczema, overall,” further explains a
January 14, 2013, ISAAC Steering Committee press release. “The authors
suggest that there are plausible explanations for the findings: fast food
contains high levels of saturated and trans fatty acids, which are known
to affect immunity, while fruit is rich in antioxidants and other beneficial
compounds.”

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