Asthma, eczema more likely in teens eating junk food
It’s no secret that junk food has been linked to an increase in childhood obesity. Now researchers say it might be tied to asthma and eczema in kids.
After analyzing data gathered from nearly a half million children in more than 50 countries, researchers at New Zealand’s Auckland University found what may be a link between eating highly processed fast food and a higher occurrence of asthma and eczema in a study earlier this year.
In fact, teens in the study who chowed down fast, unhealthy food three times a week were nearly 40 percent more likely to experience asthma. Younger children who indulged were 27 percent more likely to get asthma. The concentration of highly saturated fat levels in the body may compromise the immune system, leaving kids vulnerable to the conditions, scientists say.
“The positive association observed here between fast food intake and the symptom prevalence of asthma and eczema in adolescents and children deserved further exploration, particularly in view of the fact that fast food is increasing in popularity around the world,” researchers said in a statement.
The news isn’t good for kids who are barraged by opportunities to eat cheap but unhealthy meals.
Health experts recommend a diet rich with whole grains, fruits and plenty of vegetables, especially during a child’s growing years. But as many parents know, getting kids to choose veggies and other good-for-you foods can be an uphill battle. One recommendation is that parents can help their teenagers by packing a good old-fashioned paper bag lunch with plenty healthy options.
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