Dietary fats and asthma in teenagers: analyses of the first Nutrition and Health Survey in Taiwan (NAHSIT)

Clin Exp Allergy. 2001 Dec;31(12):1875-80. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2222.2001.01222.x.


Background: The occurrence of asthma may be associated with dietary factors.

Objective: To examine the association between nutrient intake and physician-diagnosed asthma and allergic rhinitis.

Methods: A stratified, multiple-staged sampling design was used to select study areas, in which household interviews were carried out to gather information on health status and 24-h food recall. Data from 1166 adolescents, 13-17 years of age, were analysed.

Results: In univariate analysis, total calorie and energy-adjusted fat intake were associated with the prevalence of asthma, whereas vitamin A and vitamin C intake showed negative association with asthma. Multivariate logistic regression was used to adjust for sex and levels of urbanization; intake of saturated fats was associated with increased risk (OR = 2.02 for an increase of one SD, 95%CI 1.40-2.90), while monounsaturated fats were inversely related to asthma (OR = 0.65 for an increase of one SD, 95%CI 0.43-0.99). Vitamin C intake in the lowest quartile was associated with elevated risk for asthma with marginal significance (OR = 1.81, 95%CI 0.88-3.71, P = 0.10). None of the nutritional factors was associated with allergic rhinitis.

Conclusion: Results from this cross-sectional survey suggest that saturated and monounsaturated fats may have different effects on airway inflammation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent / physiology*
  • Adolescent Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Calcium, Dietary / analysis
  • Dietary Fats* / analysis
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Prevalence
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Perennial / epidemiology
  • Sampling Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Taiwan / epidemiology
  • Urban Health
  • Vitamins / analysis


  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Dietary Fats
  • Vitamins