Numerous studies have suggested that nutritional intake is related to allergic diseases. Although conflicting results exist, fat intake is often associated with allergic diseases. We investigated the relationship between allergic diseases and nutritional intake after adjusting for various demographic and socioeconomic factors in a large, representative sample of Korean children.
A total of 3,040 participants, aged 4 to 13 years old, were enrolled in the present study from the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES), 2010-2012. Nutritional intake data, including total calories, protein, fat, carbohydrate, vitamin A, vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin, were retrieved from the survey using the complete 24-hour recall method. The associations between each nutritional factor and allergic rhinitis/asthma/atopic dermatitis were analyzed using simple and multiple logistic regression analyses with complex sampling. Age, sex, body mass index (BMI), number of household members, income level, and region of residence were adjusted for as covariates.
Of the participants, 22.1%, 6.0%, and 15.5% suffered from allergic rhinitis, asthma, and atopic dermatitis, respectively. Allergic rhinitis was significantly correlated with high-fat and low-carbohydrate diets. The adjusted odds ratio (AOR) was 1.25 (95% CIs = 1.06-1.46, P = 0.007) for fat intake, denoting a 10% increase. Carbohydrate intake (10% increase) was negatively related to allergic rhinitis with an AOR of 0.84 (95% CIs = 0.74-0.95, P = 0.004). No other significant relationships were found between the retrieved nutritional factors and either asthma or atopic dermatitis.
Allergic rhinitis was related to high-fat and low-carbohydrate diets. Although the underlying mechanisms and causal relationships remain elusive, the present study provides reliable evidence regarding the associations between nutritional factors and allergic rhinitis by considering numerous factors within a large and representative population.