Fast food causing allergies

Quarter pounder with wheeze

I’m sure I don’t need to remind you of my disdain for fast food. But the results of this new study are too disturbing not to share. So I’m going to do it anyway.

As part of a recent investigation, European researchers evaluated questionnaires from almost 500,000 kids from over 50 countries. The children (or their guardians, in the case of young subjects) reported on both types and frequency of food intake.

They also reported on the prevalence of allergy symptoms. This included respiratory conditions–namely, asthma and rhinoconjunctivitis (runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes)–as well as eczema.

As it turns out, kids between the ages of six and seven who ate fast food three or more times per week were 27 percent more likely to have severe allergies, especially asthma.

That number jumped to 39 percent among fast food-eating teens. And these findings were consistent across regional, socioeconomic, and gender divides.

These results appeared in the journal Thorax. And study authors conclude that they could have major significance to the public health–provided, of course, that the relationship is causal.

Meanwhile, I’m left to wonder how it’s possible that we’re still debating this. Of course the relationship is causal.

Childhood asthma rates have been soaring worldwide for decades now. And it would be beyond foolish to ignore one of the most obvious links in this dangerous chain.

That’s why I’m just going to go ahead and issue a warning now.

Parents, keep your kids as far away from fast food as possible…because that “happy meal” is anything but.

“Do fast foods cause asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema? Global findings from the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) Phase Three.” Thorax. 2013 Jan 14.