Cured Meat Linked To Worsening of Asthma Symptoms Interview with:
Zhen LI, MD, MPH, PhD Candidate

INSERM UMR-S 1168 (ex-Equipe 5 du CESP)
(VIMA : Aging and chronic diseases. Epidemiological and public health approaches.), Hôpital Paul Brousse
France What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: -Cured meat, which is rich in nitrite, has been known as a probable carcinogen. However, although some studies have suggested a potential deleterious role of cured meat intake in lung health, its role in asthma remained unknown.

This study was conducted using data from the French Epidemiological study on the Genetics and Environment of Asthma (EGEA). Using data from 971 participants with seven years’ follow-up, we found that participants who ate frequently cured meat, including ham, sausages, and dried sausages, had a high likelihood of having worsening asthma symptoms. The highest likelihood (76% more) was observed among participants who ate cured meats four or more servings per week, compared with those who ate less than one serving per week. Moreover, as previous studies suggested that obesity is linked to worsening asthma, we used a newly developed method to estimate if this effect was mediated by Body Mass Index (BMI), and we found that overweight/obesity only partly explained the association (14%). What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Our findings suggested that high cured meat intake is associated with worsening asthma symptoms overtime, and that BMI only partly mediated this association. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: As this is a observational study, we can not make firm conclusion on the benefit of reducing cured meat intake on asthma symptom control. Further interventional studies may help to further clarify the potential benefits of reducing cured meat intake on asthma symptom control. Besides, further studies are needed to better understand the underlying mechanism of the association between curet meat intake and worsening asthma symptoms. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Besides our finding on the association between cured meat and worsening asthma symptoms, cured meat intake has also been linked to increased risk of many other chronic diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and COPD, and was recently classified as carcinogenic by the World Health Organization. However, there remains a gap regarding the spread of knowledge from the research community to public. Public health strategies are warranted to reduce cured meat/processed meat intake and there is nothing to be lost by acting now. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Cured meat intake is associated with worsening asthma symptoms
Zhen Li, Marta Rava, Annabelle Bédard, Orianne Dumas, Judith Garcia-Aymerich,Bénédicte Leynaert, Christophe Pison, Nicole Le Moual, Isabelle Romieu, Valérie Siroux,Carlos A Camargo, Jr, Rachel Nadif, Raphaëlle Varraso
Thorax thoraxjnl-2016-208375Published Online First: 20 December 2016doi:10.1136/thoraxjnl-2016-208375

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on December 26, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD