Association of nutrient intake and wheeze or asthma in a Greek pre-school population


Evdokia Emmanouil, Allergy Research Center, University of Athens, 41 Fidippidou Str, 11527 Athens, Greece
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Emmanouil E, Manios Y, Grammatikaki E, Kondaki K, Oikonomou E, Papadopoulos N, Vassilopoulou E. Association of nutrient intake and wheeze or asthma in a Greek pre-school population.
Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2010: 21: 90–95.
© 2009 John Wiley & Sons A/S

The rise of asthma prevalence in children observed the last years might be related to several dietary factors/components as suggested by several researchers. We aimed to evaluate the potential relationship between certain nutrients intake and asthma occurrence in a population of pre-school children. In the framework of the cross-sectional study ‘Growth, Exercise and Nutrition Epidemiological Study In pre-schoolers’, data were collected from 1964 children, aged 24–72 months, living in five different counties in Greece. The International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood questionnaire was used to assess asthma related outcomes. Dietary intake was assessed with 3 days diet records. The prevalence of ever wheeze, current wheeze and diagnosed asthma was 37.7%, 27.5% and 10.5% respectively. Dietary intake of magnesium had a 0.5% and 0.6% increase in the reported risk of current wheeze and diagnosed asthma respectively. On the contrary a decrease in the prevalence of ever (OR: 0.997, 95% CI: 0.995–1.000) and current wheeze (OR: 0.996, 95% CI: 0.993–0.999) was associated with vitamin C intake. Calcium intake slightly decreased the risk of current wheeze (OR: 0.999, 95% CI: 0.998–0.999). An increase of 2% of the risk of reporting ever or current wheeze was associated with mono-unsaturated fatty acid intake. Magnesium intake was the only independent predictor for doctor’s diagnosed asthma. We conclude that dietary intake of vitamin C and calcium seem to have a protective effect on the incidence of wheeze in pre-school children, whereas magnesium and mono-unsaturated fatty acid may have a harmful role.