The increase in the prevalence of asthma and allergy: food for thought

Nat Rev Immunol. 2006 Nov;6(11):869-74. doi: 10.1038/nri1958.


Since about 1960, the prevalence of asthma and allergic disease has increased sufficiently to become a major public-health concern. Concurrently, there have been marked changes in our diet, and it has been proposed that these changes have contributed to the increase in the prevalence of asthma and allergy. In this article, these hypotheses about diet are described, together with the postulated mechanisms and the evidence for and against, leading to the most recent evidence indicating that maternal diet during pregnancy might be particularly important in the development of childhood asthma.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Asthma / etiology*
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / epidemiology*
  • Hypersensitivity / etiology*
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Life Style
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence