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Allergol Immunopathol (Madr). 2015 Jul-Aug;43(4):353-60. doi: 10.1016/j.aller.2014.03.002. Epub 2014 Aug 3.

Antioxidant foods consumption and childhood asthma and other allergic diseases: The Greek cohorts of the ISAAC II survey.

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  • 1Asthma and Allergy Pediatric Unit, "KAT" General Hospital, Kifisia, Greece. Electronic address:
  • 2Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Harokopio University, Athens, Greece.
  • 33rd Department of Paediatrics, School of Medicine, Aristoteleio University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece.
  • 4Department of Nursing, University of Athens, Greece.
  • 5Evgenidio Hospital, School of Medicine, University of Athens, Athens, Greece.
  • 6Paediatric Pulmonology and Allergy Units, 3rd Department of Paediatrics, "Attikon" Hospital, School of Medicine, University of Athens, Greece.



Antioxidant intake changes have been implicated with the increase in asthma and allergies outcomes, but no clear association has been revealed. In this cross sectional study, the overall effect of antioxidants on asthma and allergic diseases was studied.


Data from the cohorts of the phase II ISAAC survey (2023 children 9-10 years old) in two metropolitan Greek cities were analysed. Using a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire, an Antioxidant Eating Index (AEI, range 0-6) was created with the pro-antioxidant (vegetables, fruits, fresh juice, fish) and the non-antioxidant (meat, burgers) food intake and was evaluated with allergic diseases. Higher values of the score suggest closer to an "antioxidant" and lesser to a "saturated fatty" diet.


Prevalence of lifetime and current asthma, current rhinitis and sensitisation were higher in Thessaloniki compared to Athens. The AEI score of the entire cohort was 4.2 ± 1.2 (median 4.0) and was higher in Athens compared to Thessaloniki (4.3 ± 1.2 vs. 4.0 ± 1.2, p=0.001) and in girls than boys (4.3 ± 1.1 vs. 4.0 ± 1.2, p=0.001). AEI was inversely associated with lifetime asthma (OR: 0.87, 95%CI 0.77, 0.99) in either cities independently of other cofounders such as family history, sensitisation, exercise, house smoking, breast feeding, pet or dampness in houses. No association with other allergic disease or sensitisation was detected.


Antioxidant foods seem to be a non-pharmacological, protective dietary pattern for asthma development in children irrespectively of atopy or heredity; AEI was a rough indicator and the role of antioxidants in allergic diseases is still under consideration.


Allergy; Antioxidants; Asthma; Children; Diet; ISAAC

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