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Health scare of the week: Do Happy Meals cause asthma?

Eating too much fast food may damage the immune systems of young children and teens.

Eating too much fast food may damage the immune systems of young children and teens, says Bloomberg.com. A new study of 500,000 kids and teens in 51 countries found that those who ate three or more fast-food meals per week were at much higher risk of developing asthma than those who ate them less frequently. Six- and 7-year-olds who ate fast food three times per week were nearly 30 percent more likely to develop severe asthma; 13- and 14-year-olds were 40 percent more likely to. Fast-food eaters in both age groups were also more likely to have other allergies, such as hay fever and eczema. Those effects may be due to the saturated fats in processed foods, which may interfere with the immune system to make people more sensitive to allergens. British researcher Hywel Williams says that “our findings have big public-health implications, given that these types of allergies are on the rise and fast food is so popular.”

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