The results of a study show that a healthy diet for children can help reduce the risk of allergies, allergic sensitization, and allergy symptoms.

Danielle Saadeh, PhD, of the clinical and epidemiological research laboratory at Lebanese University in Hadath in Lebanon, and colleagues evaluated 7,432 children aged 9 to 11 years in France using a parental questionnaire based on the International Study on Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC).

Parents were polled on the types of foods their children ate, whether they ate school (canteen) lunches and how often their children ate.

The researchers performed skin prick testing and bronchial hyper-responsiveness testing to identify allergic sensitivity as well as common allergies.

Saadeh and colleagues found that consumption of fruit juice reduced the risk for asthma over a lifetime (adjusted OR = 0.73; 95% CI, 0.56-0.97), whereas butter was associated with developing atopic wheeze (adjusted OR = 1.48; 95% CI, 1.07-2.05).

Having a canteen lunch one or two times per week was associated with wheeze development during the previous year (adjusted OR = 0.71; 95% CI, 0.52-0.96), lifetime asthma risk (adjusted OR = 0.76; 95% CI, 0.6-0.96) and sensitivity to allergies (adjusted OR = 0.8; 95% CI, 0.67-0.95).

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