Педиатрия и терапия

Педиатрия и терапия
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ISSN: 2161-0665


The Association between Diet and Symptoms of Allergic Diseases in Children Aged from 8 to 12 in Public Schools in Beirut and Mount Lebanon

Lahoud Odette, Salameh Pascale, Raherison Chantal, Boutros Celina, Khafaja Sarah and Saadeh Danielle

Background: The prevalence of allergic diseases including asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema, has increased in the Western world in recent decades, particularly in children, becoming a major public health problem in the whole world. Therefore, the objective of this 12 months study is to evaluate the relationship between eating habits and the symptoms of allergic diseases in children.

Methods: This cross-sectional epidemiological observational study was conducted among children (n=3104) in various public schools in Beirut and Mount Lebanon. A self-administered questionnaire, based on the “International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) and a Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ)” was used to evaluate the children's eating habits. The study took place between February and April 2016. The data collected were coded, entered and then analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS).

Results: The prevalence of symptoms of asthma, rhino conjunctivitis, and eczema during the past 12 months reported 7.8%, 11.4% and 4.1%, respectively. The onset of allergic diseases symptoms, especially asthma, seems to be reduced by the consumption of certain food products, such as raw and cooked vegetables, grains, fish, dairy products, and fresh fruit juices. On the other hand, “salt” was associated with an increased risk for all studied allergic diseases. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were performed to identify the relationship between a certain diet and the symptoms of allergic diseases during 12 months.

Conclusion: This study explicates the association between eating habits and allergic diseases. Indeed, some foods belonging to the Western diet can be considered as risk factors, while others belonging to the Mediterranean diet proved to be protective. This leaves the door open to further studies from a different perspective.