Diet and Respiratory Health in Children from 11 Latin American Countries: Evidence from ISAAC Phase III

And The Isaac Phase Iii Latin America Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Aim: The burden of childhood asthma and its risk factors is an important but neglected public health challenge in Latin America. We investigated the association between allergic symptoms and dietary intake in children from this region. Methods: As part of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) Phase III, questionnaire collected dietary intake was investigated in relation to risk of parental/child reported current wheeze (primary outcome) and rhino-conjunctivitis and eczema. Per-country adjusted logistic regressions were performed, and combined effect sizes were calculated with meta-analyses. Results: 143,967 children from 11 countries had complete data. In children aged 6–7 years, current wheeze was negatively associated with higher fruit intake (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 0.65; 95% CI 0.74, 0.97). Current rhino-conjunctivitis and eczema were statistically negatively associated with fruit intake (aOR 0.72; 95% CI 0.64, 0.82; and OR 0.64, 95% CI 0.56, 0.74, respectively). Vegetable intake was negatively associated with risk of symptoms in younger children, but these associations were attenuated in the 13–14 years old group. Fastfood/burger intake was positively associated with all three outcomes in the older children. Conclusion: A higher intake of fruits and vegetables was associated with a lower prevalence of allergic symptoms in Latin American children. Conversely, intake of fastfood was positively associated with a higher prevalence of wheeze in adolescents. Improved dietary habits in children might help reduce the epidemic of allergic symptoms in Latin America. Food interventions in asthmatic children are needed to evaluate the possible public health impact of a better diet on respiratory health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)683-692
Number of pages10
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017


  • Asthma
  • Children
  • Diet
  • Fruits
  • ISAAC Phase III
  • Latin America
  • Vegetables
  • Wheeze

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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