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Fresh fruit and vegetables help prevent asthma

Harold Mandel's picture
A fresh apple

Researchers say the odds of having asthma are 53 percent higher in areas where it is not easy to buy fresh affordable food.


Asthma is a very difficult illness for children to live with. Researchers now say that children raised in urban areas where it is hard to buy high quality fresh food which is affordable are at an increased risk for getting asthma. Kids who were studied who had access to fresh fruits and vegetables had lower rates of asthma.

The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology reports the medical charts of 2,043 children between the ages of 6 and 18 years old who were seen for well child visits were examined. It was determined that 57 percent of these kids lived at least half a mile away from a grocery store, while 10 percent lived at least one mile away from a grocery store.

People who eat diets which are richer in certain vitamins have a decreased incidence of asthma

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Allergist DeVon Preston, MD, the lead study author, said it was determined that 21 percent of the kids who lived in a food desert suffered from asthma, in comparison to a rate of 17 percent for kids who did not live in a food desert. There is some evidence that people who eat diets which are richer in certain vitamins have a decreased incidence of asthma. However more research is needed to determine the association between eating healthy foods and decreasing the risk for asthma.

Kids who live in a food desert are at a great disadvantage

Allergist Maripaz Morales, MD, a study co-author, says it's very hard to get any child to eat a healthy amount of fruits and vegetables. However kids who live in a food desert are at an even higher disadvantage. Good nutrition is essential for everyone. It is particularly important for those suffering from a chronic disease such as asthma. It appears that your body may be more vulnerable to illness and respiratory viruses which can set off asthma attacks when you don't get adequate nutrients.

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology reports kids who have recurrent wheezing, cough, chest tightness or shortness of breath may suffer from asthma. If not treated well kids with asthma often do not have as much stamina as other kids. Asthmatic kids often suffer from chest pain and have trouble catching their breath. The finding that eating fresh fruit and vegetables may help prevent this serious illness is clearly very significant.