ORLANDO, Fla. – 14-year old Arturo Vega learned to cook when he was only eight.
"I like cooking bistec and arroz, like rice and beans," he said.
Today, Vega is putting those cooking skills to good use. He's recently adopted a healthier lifestyle. A new study indicates that avoiding certain fatty foods- and adding omega-3 fish oils to the diet may help decrease asthma symptoms in kids.
"Perhaps having more of this healthy type of fat that has an anti-inflammatory effect, could it actually help treat asthma and treat the inflammation with asthma," explained Jason Lang, M.D., Pulmonary Pediatrician at Nemours's Children's Hospital in Orlando.
Doctors also say overweight asthma patients are at a disadvantage.
"When kids are obese they respond to the normal asthma medicines in a reduced manner," Lang explained.
"A is ¼ cup of food," said Vega.
As part of the study he logs the food he eats, and takes an omega three supplement.
"Since May he doesn't use the medicine for the asthma," said his mother, Tamaris Cruz.
Vega says he hasn't had an asthma attack since he started the study – and he has more energy. He's hoping to use his experience, and his passion for cooking to become a future healthy celebrity chef.
Lang is in the process of extending the study through May 2016. Participants are required to make four to five in-person clinic visits. Find out more about the study here.
Asthma is the chronic inflammation of the lungs and airways. Allergies and irritations can trigger an asthmatic attack and can vary from person to person, as well as the severity of reactions. Obesity causes inflammation throughout the body. An obese person is considered to have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher.(Source: http://www.getasthmahelp.org/asthma-obesity.aspx, http://www.everydayhealth.com/asthma/obesity-connection.aspx)
RESEARCH: New studies have given insight to children with asthma and the correlation with their BMI. Asthma does not cause obesity, but it could work the other way around. In an adult diagnosis of asthma, the cause can likely be related to obesity. However in children, an asthma diagnosis may have been determined by pre-existing difficulties, perhaps due to allergies, which can deter exercise or physical activity and lead to weight gain. In obese asthmatics, the inflammation throughout the body may affect the effectiveness of asthma control medications due to decreased lung volume and more restricted airways.
(Source: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1866067, http://www.getasthmahelp.org/asthma-obesity.aspx)
TREATMENT: Changes to diet and lifestyle can positively affect obese asthmatics. For children, parental guidance and encouragement to healthy eating habits can help reduce the obesity factor, thereby reducing overall inflammation of the body. For all asthmatics, including children, exercise is vital to improve lung function. While it may be difficult for some asthmatics to follow through with physical activity, it is suggested they start slow. Walking around the block is an easy way to promote lung function without exerting much effort. Swimming is another activity that is easy on joints while still providing a full aerobic workout. The idea is to stretch the muscles in the lungs to allow for more efficient air flow. For diet and nutrition, a healthy lifestyle always wins; fruits, vegetables and foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids are ideal to reduce lung inflammation.
(Source: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/740801_6, http://www.getasthmahelp.org/asthma-obesity.aspx)