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Keywords:

  • childhood asthma;
  • diet;
  • Mediterranean;
  • epidemiology;
  • nutrition

To cite this article: Arvaniti F, Priftis KN, Papadimitriou A, Papadopoulos M, Roma E, Kapsokefalou M, Antracopoulos MB, Panagiotakos DB. Adherence to the Mediterranean type of diet is associated with lower prevalence of asthma symptoms, among 10–12 years old children: the PANACEA study. Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2011; 22: 283–289.

Epidemiological studies have shown several associations between asthma symptoms and dietary factors. The aim of this work was to evaluate the relationship between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and childhood asthma. A cross-sectional analysis was performed on 700 children (323 boys), 10–12 yr old, selected from 18 schools located in Athens greater area. Children and their parents completed questionnaires, which evaluated, among others, dietary habits. Asthma was defined according to ISAAC II criteria. Adherence to the Mediterranean diet was evaluated using the KIDMED score (theoretical range 0–12). Higher KIDMED score corresponds to greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet. Greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet was inversely associated with ever had wheeze (p = 0.001), exercise wheeze (p = 0.004), ever had diagnosed asthma (p = 0.002) and with any asthma symptoms (p < 0.001). One-unit increase in the KIDMED score was associated with 14% lower likelihood of having asthma symptoms (odds ratio = 0.86, 95% confidence interval 0.75–0.98), after adjusting for various confounders. No significant associations were found between asthma symptoms and consumption of fruits (p = 0.25), vegetables (p = 0.97), legumes (p = 0.76), cereals (p = 0.71), dairy (p = 0.61), salty snacks (p = 0.53), or margarine/butter (p = 0.42) consumption, while increased fish and meat intake was associated with less asthma symptoms (p = 0.04 and p = 0.01, respectively). Our findings suggest an inverse relationship between level of adherence to the Mediterranean diet and prevalence of asthma in school-aged children.