Eating Cured Meat May Worsen Asthma Symptoms

(HealthDay News) — Higher levels of cured meat intake are associated with a direct effect on worsening asthma symptoms over time, according to a study published online Dec. 20 in Thorax.

Zhen Li, M.D., from the Hôpital Paul Brousse in Paris, and colleagues assessed data from 971 participants (mean age 43 years; 49 percent men; 42 percent with asthma) in the prospective Epidemiological study on the Genetics and Environment of Asthma (EGEA) study (baseline, 2003 to 2007; follow-up, 2011 to 2013). The authors sought to estimate the direct effect of baseline cured meat intake (<1, 1 to 3.9, ≥4 servings/week) on change in asthma symptom score (worsening or not), and the indirect effect mediated by body mass index (BMI).

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The researchers found that 20 percent of participants reported worsening asthma symptoms during the mean follow-up of seven years. Using a marginal structural model, there was a positive direct effect of cured meat intake on worsening asthma symptoms (multivariable odds ratio, 1.76 for ≥4 versus <1 serving/week). There was also an indirect effect mediated by BMI (adjusted odds ratio, 1.07), accounting for 14 percent of the total effect.

“This research extends the effect of diet on asthma in adults,” the authors write.

The study was partially funded by Merck Sharp & Dohme.

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