Don't stop your kids from gorging on those hot dogs and salami, for an Aussie nutritionist has rubbished claims suggesting that eating cured and processed meat might put children at a greater risk of leukemia.
In an earlier study, scientists claimed that children who ate cured meat or fish regularly were 74 per cent more likely to develop leukemia.
And those who ate vegetables and soy-based foods regularly were 50 per cent less likely than their meat-eating counterparts to develop the disease.
But, the study did not take into account a detailed examination of why the foods caused the higher incidence of cancer.
Thus, Australian researchers have questioned the findings, claiming eating cured meat and fish might not be harmful at all.
"It's a very small sample size to be making these kinds of associations between diet and cancer risk," The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Kathy Chapman, nutritionist, the Cancer Council NSW.
She added: "Normally when we look at a study like this you would be looking at 20,000 participants.
"Also, the best type of studies are those which follow people up over time rather than asking them what they did in the past. I don't think it's time for parents to be panicking if their kids have been tucking into the hot dogs over the school holidays."
Thus, the authors have admitted that their research is not definitive, but have still advised that children not eat large amounts of cured meat and fish.
The study is published in the online journal BMC Cancer.