Dietary factors associated with wheezing and allergic rhinitis in children.Eur Respir J 2003; 22(5):772-80ER
The effect of dietary factors on asthma is controversial. This study examined food consumption and the use of fats in relation to wheezing and allergic rhinitis in children. Baseline questionnaire data on individual and family characteristics were recorded by parents of 5,257 children aged 6-7 yrs living in central Italy participating in the International Study on Asthma and Allergies in Childhood study. A total of 4,104 children (78.1%) were reinvestigated after 1 yr using a second parental questionnaire to record occurrence of respiratory symptoms over the intervening 12 months. Consumption of foods rich in antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, animal fats, and food containing omega-3 fatty acids were investigated using a food-frequency questionnaire. Frequency of use of fats was also evaluated. Wheezing, shortness of breath with wheeze, and symptoms of allergic rhinitis in the past 12 months were considered. Intake of cooked vegetables, tomatoes, and fruit were protective factors for any wheeze in the last 12 months and shortness of breath with wheeze. Consumption of citrus fruit had a protective role for shortness of breath with wheeze. Consumption of bread and margarine was associated with an increased risk of wheeze, while bread and butter was associated with shortness of breath with wheeze. Dietary antioxidants in vegetables may reduce wheezing symptoms in childhood, whereas both butter and margarine may increase the occurrence of such symptoms.