Meat Consumption Associated with Wheezing in Children, May Increase Asthma Risk

December 23, 2020
Jonathan Alicea

A new study finds that higher AGE consumption is associated with increased odds of wheezing.

A new study suggested that the consumption of meat is associated with wheezing in children.

The team, led by Jing Wang, MD, Assistant Professor in Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, cited advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), or pro-inflammatory compounds, as an example of early dietary risk factors that can have an impact on the prevention of inflammatory airway disease.

Data for the study was extracted from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and involved 4,388 children between 2-17 years of age.

The investigators used this information to evaluate associations between frequencies of AGE / meat consumption and respiratory symptoms.

Thus, they found that higher AGE consumption was associated with increased odds of wheezing (OR, 1.18; 95% CI, 1.02-1.36).

Associations were also found for wheeze-disrupted sleep (OR, 1.26; 95% CI, 1.05-1.51), wheeze-disrupted exercise (OR, 1.34; 95% CI, 1.08-1.67), and wheezing requiring prescription medications (OR, 1.35; 95% CI, 1.13-1.63).

Furthermore, higher intake of non-seafood meats was linked with wheeze-disrupted sleep (OR, 2.32; 95% CI, 1.11-4.82) and wheezing requiring prescription medication (OR, 2.23; 95% CI, 1.10-4.54).

“We found that higher consumption of dietary AGEs, which are largely derived from intake of non-seafood meats, was associated with increased risk of wheezing in children, regardless of overall diet quality or an established diagnosis of asthma,” Wang said in a statement.

Sonali Bose, MD, another investigator in the team expressed the importance of conducting research aimed at identifying dietary risk factors for children. Reaching a better understanding of such risk can guide dietary modifications as well as health recommendations.

“Our findings will hopefully inform future longitudinal studies to further investigate whether these specific dietary components play a role in childhood airways disease such as asthma,” said Bose, Professor of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine and Pediatrics.

Avoiding Cow’s Milk Formula

The past few decades have seen the increasing prevalence of pediatric asthma in the United States. Emerging evidence has found that early dietary habits may have an association with wheezing as well as the future development of asthma.

For example, another recent study found that cow’s milk formula may also have an association with symptoms of asthma, such as recurrent wheeze.

In a cohort of 312 newborns—who were randomized 1:1 to receive cow’s milk formula or no cow’s milk—the investigators reported that asthma or recurrent wheeze was found in 17.9% of those in the cow’s milk formula group.

As for those who did not consume cow’s milk, 9.9% experienced asthma or recurrent wheeze (risk difference, −0.079; 95% CI, −0.157 to −0.002).

Thus, the study's investigators discouraged supplementing breastfeeding with cow’s milk formula in the first 3 days of life.

The study, “Increased advanced glycation end product and meat consumption is associated with childhood wheeze: analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey,” was published online in Thorax.

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