ULM, Germany, June 4 (UPI) -- Fast-food has been linked to higher rates of asthma while healthier foods are associated with lower risk of asthma, German researchers report.
Dr. Gabriele Nagel of the Institute of Epidemiology at Ulm University, Germany, and colleagues analyzed data on 50,000 children collected during a 10-year period in 20 nations of varying economic status, and concluded "high burger consumption was associated with higher lifetime asthma prevalence" for children, CNN reported.
Citing a study published in the journal Thorax, the report said researchers defined high burger consumption as three or more burgers a week.
Foods such as fruit, vegetables and fish, and the so-called Mediterranean diet, were associated with a lower lifetime prevalence of asthma, the researchers said.
The report suggested the higher association with asthma results from fast-food "rich in industrially hydrogenated vegetable fats such as margarine and meat from ruminant animals, which are dietary sources of trans-fatty acids."
Nagel told WebMD lifestyle may also be a factor in the higher risk of illness for fast-food consumers.
"It is possible that in higher-income countries, burger consumption is a proxy for obesity, which is a known risk factor for asthma," she said.