MONDAY, Jan. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Kids who eat fast food three or more times a week are likely to have more severe allergic reactions, a large new international study suggests.
These include bouts of asthma, eczema and hay fever (rhinitis). And although the study doesn't prove that those burgers, chicken snacks and fries cause these problems, the evidence of an association is compelling, researchers say.
"The study adds to a growing body of evidence of the possible harms of fast foods," said study co-author Hywel Williams, a professor of dermato-epidemiology at the University of Nottingham, in England.
"Whether the evidence we have found is strong enough to recommend a reduction of fast food intake for those with allergies is a matter of debate," he added.
These finding are important, Williams said, because this is the largest study to date on allergies in young people across the world and the findings are remarkably consistent globally for both boys and girls and regardless of family income.
"If true, the findings have big public health implications given that these allergic disorders appear to be on the increase and because fast food is so popular," he said.
However, Williams cautioned that fast food might not be causing these problems. "It could be due to other factors linked to behavior that we have not measured, or it could be due to biases that occur in studies that measure disease and ask about previous food intake," he said.
In addition, this association between fast foods and severe allergies does not necessarily mean that eating less fast food will reduce the severity of disease of asthma, hay fever or eczema (an itchy skin disorder), Williams said.
The report was published in the Jan. 14 online issue of Thorax.
Williams and colleagues collected data on more than 319,000 teens aged 13 and 14 from 51 countries and mo
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