A lot of research has gone into something called “food deserts.” These are urban areas where it is not easy to find food that is both high-quality and affordable. Among the most recent studies, though, researchers have found that children who live in these areas may be more vulnerable to developing asthma than children who do not.
“We found that 21 percent of the children who lived in a food desert had asthma, compared to a 17 percent rate for the children who didn’t live in a food desert,” explains allergist and ACAAI member DeVon Preston, MD.
The study is currently being presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI). The researchers presented the charts of 2,043 children between the ages of 6 and 18 and noted that 57 percent live within a half mile from a grocery store; 10 percent lived within one mile.
Obviously this data is somewhat alarming and certainly requires more consideration. More specifically, the researchers would like to learn more about the correlation between eating healthy foods and reducing the risk for asthma.
Accordingly, ACAAI member and study co-author, Maripaz Morales—who is also an allergist—notes, “In this study, we have factored in the presence of allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and obesity as other conditions that can affect asthma control.”
He goes on to say, “It’s difficult to get any kid to eat the right amount of fresh fruits and vegetables, but kids who live in a food desert are at an even greater disadvantage.”
Asthma attacks, of course, are most commonly triggered by allergens like pollen, dust, dander, and mold as well as irritants like tobacco smoke and even dry air; stress can also trigger it. The Mayo Clinic reminds that these triggers are all different between asthma patients.
Similarly, it is important to remember good nutrition is always important. Apparently it could not hurt to up your nutrition game if you suffer from asthma. More importantly, it is crucial that children who suffer asthma to get the appropriate nutrition. The more you can control your nutrition, the more effective your body’s natural immune response and overall respiratory response will be.