Scientists believe that breastfeeding a baby considerably reduces the child's risk of developing asthma. But a new study has pointed out that this natural protection can be easily negated if the child frequently eats fast food ie more than once or twice a week.
Dr. Anita Kozyrskyj, a University of Alberta professor found that breastfeeding for too short a time was linked to a higher risk of asthma, or conversely that children exclusively breastfed 12 weeks or longer as infants had a lower risk.
"But this beneficial effect was only seen in children who did not consume fast food, or only occasionally had fast food," she said.
More than half the children studied ate fast food more than twice a week.
The researchers didn't look at why fast food might cause asthma. But the authors suggest the high fat content, and high salt levels (which can increase twitchy airways and wheezing) may be to blame.
During the study, the team looked at about 700 Manitoba children, about 250 of whom had asthma and 475 who did not.
Kozyrskyj noted that nutrition is only one of many factors involved in asthma.
"But this is an interesting finding, and we hope it will stimulate other researchers to follow up and investigate this in more depth, perhaps with a cohort study," she added.
The article appears online in the international journal Clinical and Experimental Allergy