Air pollution, fast food causing rise in asthma in Kashmir: DAK

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On World Asthma Day, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Tuesday expressed concern over rise in asthma cases in Kashmir.

“Air pollution and fast food are causing spike in asthma cases in the valley,” said DAK President Dr Nisar ul Hassan said.

Dr Hassan said the air quality in Kashmir has been constantly deteriorating for the past few years due to the increasing number of vehicles, construction, brick kiln, cement and other factories which emit pollutants and significantly pollute our air.

“And this is behind rising cases of asthma in the valley,” he said.

“A study published in British Medical Journal has found that children exposed to higher levels of environmental pollutants are more likely to develop asthma compared to children who were not exposed,” DAK President said.

“The research showed that for every 5µg-per-cubic-meter increase in concentrations of air pollutants, there was about a 4 or 5% increase in asthma.”

“Not just what you breathe, what you eat puts you at risk of developing asthma,” he said.

“According to a study children and teenagers are nearly 40% more likely to have asthma if they eat fast food more than three times a week.”

Dr Nisar said over the years fast food has largely replaced homemade meals in Kashmir. Children and teens are often seen taking fast foods like burgers, pizzas, French fries and noodles.

“This change in dietary habits from homemade to processed and convenient foods could be another reason for rise in asthma cases,” he said.

“There is an urgent need to control environmental pollution to save people especially younger generation from the disease.

We need to educate parents to encourage their children to eat healthy and avoid fast foods,” he added. (GNS)

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