Children who regularly eat processed food such as burgers and chips are more likely to suffer from asthma and eczema, a global study has shown.
Professors from the University of Auckland in New Zealand studied the eating habits and health records of over 500,000 children in more than 50 countries including the UK .
The study showed that those who ate fast food at least three times a week, had higher incidence of severe asthma, eczema and itchy, watery eyes.
Children in their early teens who ate junk food regularly had a 39% higher risk of severe asthma, while six and seven year olds’ chances were increased by 27%.
Conversely, those who ate three or more portions of fruit a week reduced their risk of these allergy-related conditions by 11-14%.
While asthma appears to be on the rise amongst British children, researchers are as yet unable to pinpoint an exact cause for this.
The results of this study do not conclude whether eating fast food directly causes the extra risk, or whether it is due to a relative lack of protection offered by fresh fruit and vegetables.