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Does diet increase the risk of asthma and asthma attacks in Puerto Rican youth?

Published: February 01, 2022

Puerto Rican children and adolescents are disproportionately affected with asthma, and an unhealthy diet may partly explain the high burden of asthma in Puerto Rican youth.

In a study published in this issue of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, Reyes-Angel and colleagues examined whether an unhealthy diet at one or two study visits, conducted approximately 5 years apart, was associated with asthma, severe asthma attacks, and changes in lung function among 406 youth who were aged 6 to 14 years at an initial study visit and 9 to 20 years at a second or follow-up study visit. Participants who had an unhealthy diet, assessed using a dietary score, had low consumption of grains and vegetables but high consumption of sweets and dairy products. The researchers found that an unhealthy diet at both study visits was associated with asthma and severe asthma attacks but not with change in lung function.

In summary, this study shows that an unhealthy diet is associated with increased risk of asthma and severe asthma attacks in Puerto Rican youth. This may be explained by the detrimental effects of an unhealthy diet on the immune system and on inflammation of the airways. Findings from this study support health policies that promote a healthy diet in Puerto Rican children and adolescents.

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice is an official journal of the AAAAI, focusing on practical information for the practicing clinician.

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