Dietary intake, lung function and airway inflammation in Mexico City school children exposed to air pollutants

Respir Res. 2009 Dec 10;10(1):122. doi: 10.1186/1465-9921-10-122.


Introduction: Air pollutant exposure has been associated with an increase in inflammatory markers and a decline in lung function in asthmatic children. Several studies suggest that dietary intake of fruits and vegetables might modify the adverse effect of air pollutants.

Methods: A total of 158 asthmatic children recruited at the Children's Hospital of Mexico and 50 non-asthmatic children were followed for 22 weeks. Pulmonary function was measured and nasal lavage collected and analyzed every 2 weeks. Dietary intake was evaluated using a 108-item food frequency questionnaire and a fruit and vegetable index (FVI) and a Mediterranean diet index (MDI) were constructed. The impact of these indices on lung function and interleukin-8 (IL-8) and their interaction with air pollutants were determined using mixed regression models with random intercept and random slope.

Results: FVI was inversely related to IL-8 levels in nasal lavage (p < 0.02) with a significant inverse trend (test for trend p < 0.001), MDI was positively related to lung function (p < 0.05), and children in the highest category of MDI had a higher FEV1 (test for trend p < 0.12) and FVC (test for trend p < 0.06) than children in the lowest category. A significant interaction was observed between FVI and ozone for FEV1 and FVC as was with MDI and ozone for FVC. No effect of diet was observed among healthy children.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that fruit and vegetable intake and close adherence to the Mediterranean diet have a beneficial effect on inflammatory response and lung function in asthmatic children living in Mexico City.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants*
  • Asthma / diagnosis*
  • Asthma / drug therapy
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Diet, Mediterranean / statistics & numerical data*
  • Eating*
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Mexico / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Function Tests / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Students / statistics & numerical data
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Air Pollutants