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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 28  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 93-97

Diet and asthma: An observational study

1 Department of Pediatrics, Lok Nayak Hospital (Maulana Azad Medical College), Delhi, India
2 Department of Surgery, Lok Nayak Hospital (Maulana Azad Medical College), Delhi, India
3 Institute of Respiratory Diseases, Jaipur, India

Correspondence Address:
Astha Koolwal
D-68, Madho Singh Road, Bani - Park, Jaipur 302016
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-6691.140787

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Introduction: Asthma as we know has multiple etiologies and risk factors. Among the noncommunicable diseases, asthma remains a global giant, a disease that has numerous predictors some proven and some under scrutiny. Linking diet with asthma has been crucial and treacherous for long. With all the studies that have been undertaken, some clearly state the protective effects/adverse effects of certain foods, while others deepen the dilemma. This study has been undertaken in order to enlarge the spectrum of studies performed in this regard. The study evaluates the dietary habits (vegetarian and nonvegetarian) as a whole of 554 school going children and categorizes them into asthmatics (along with allergic disorders) (both physician diagnosed) and nonasthmatics. Aims and Objectives: The aim was to establish the correlation between diet and physician diagnosed asthma (and allergic disorders) in school going children. Materials and Methods: A questionnaire inspired by the International study for Asthma and Allergy in Children questionnaire was used to evaluate the dietary habits and disease status of the 554 school going children of urban areas of Jaipur. The children had to fill the questionnaire under parental/teachers' guidance. Results: Asthma and allergic disorders were found to be more prevalent in those consuming a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet (odds ratio [OR]: 0.289, P - 0.004). Junk food was also significantly correlated (OR: 1.643, P - 0.004), as well as a positive family history (OR: 0.585, P - 0.002). Conclusion: Although studies linking a vegetarian diet to be protective against asthma are numerous, our study shows a different picture. The school of thought that considers vegetarian diet to be protective may lay its basis on the high antioxidant levels in the blood, which according to a new hypothesis, on the contrary may be related to increased risk of allergies too.

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