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A warning for children consuming hamburgers: Asthma

The drive against fast foods catches on with yet another research study which says that eating junk food may raise the risk of asthma and wheezing problems in children. //

Researchers found that kids who ate hamburgers more than once a week were twice more likely to have asthma attacks and wheezing. Other takeaway food and fizzy drinks were found to increase the risk of asthma.

Children who ate at least one hamburger a week were 75 percent more likely to have asthma and 100 percent more likely to have wheezing problems, according to the study.

The study was led by Dr. Kristen Wickens of the Wellington Asthma Research Group based at the Wellington Medical School in New Zealand.

Researchers were able to correlate the consumption of fast food with the increased risk of asthma and allergy.

The study involved 1,321 children between the ages of 10 and 12, who participated in an International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood known as ISAAC. Both their diet and asthma symptoms were recorded.

Compared with those who never ate hamburgers, those frequently consuming hamburgers had an elevated risk of experiencing asthma symptoms. Higher consumption of hamburgers led to a higher incidence of asthma.

Asthma is a disease more commonly found in developed countries than in developing countries. Asthma is suspected to be linked with the westernized diet, higher living standard, decreasing physical activity and increased pollution.

The pollution theory does not stand to reason. Tokyo has a higher pollution, but lower asthma rate, while a higher incidence rate of asthma is found in the Scottish island of Skye where there is almost no pollution.

"The high salt content in hamburgers may increase the risk of wheezy illness.” said Dr. Wickens

Asthma caused 12.7 million doctor visits, 1.2 million hospital outpatient visits, 1.9 million emergency department visits, 484,0 00 hospitalizations and 4,261 deaths in the US in 2003, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

Source: Wellington Medical School

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