Health Discoveries in General Health News

Mealtime interaction may aid children with asthma

February 7, 2011
Children with persistent asthma whose families observe regular mealtimes were found to fare better in managing the condition than children who don't have a regularly scheduled meal with family interaction.

Published in the January/February issue of the journal Child Development, a pediatrics study by researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign included observed mealtime interactions of 200 families with children, aged 5 to 12, who had persistent asthma.

They noted that these children need medication more often, should avoid allergens and often maintain regular schedules to control the disease. When that adherence to a schedule occurs at mealtimes, children with persistent asthma usually had better health. Uninterrupted conversations at family meals also was a factor, the researchers reported.

"[Mealtimes] provide an optimal setting for…prevention efforts, and can be considered by policymakers and practitioners as a straightforward and accessible way to improve the health and wellbeing of children with asthma," said Barbara H. Fiese, a professor of human and community development and director of the university's Family Resiliency Center.

Within the North Shore-LIJ Health System, researchers are studying the drug tiotropium, a solution administered through an inhaler, to gauge its effectiveness in controlling asthma symptoms when used with patients' usual asthma medications.
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