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Diet and exercise improve asthma

Wednesday September 13th, 2017

A healthy diet and taking more exercise can benefit people with asthma, even if they are of a healthy weight, a European conference will hear today.

Dr Louise Toenessen of Bispebjerg University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark, and colleagues looked at the impact of diet and exercise, which is avoided by some people with asthma due to fear it will exacerbate their symptoms.

The team recruited 149 patients who were randomly assigned to one of four groups: to follow a diet high in protein and with a low glycaemic index plus at least six portions of fruit and vegetables per day; to have exercise classes three times a week including bursts of high intensity activity; to follow both; or to continue as usual.

After eight weeks, the combination of diet and exercise improved quality of life, fitness, and improved symptom control by 50% compared with the usual activity group. The research is presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress 2017 in Milan, Italy, today (13 September).

Dr Toennesen said: “There is increasing evidence that asthma patients who are obese can benefit from a better diet and increased exercise. We wanted to see if non-obese patients with asthma could also benefit.

“People with asthma sometimes find exercise challenging and this can lead to an overall deterioration in their fitness. Our study suggests that non-obese asthma patients can safely take part in well-planned, high-intensity exercise. It also shows that exercise combined with a healthy diet can help patients control their asthma symptoms and enjoy a better quality of life.

“These are important findings since we know that not all patients have good control over their symptoms and consequently can have a lower quality of life."

Toenessen, L. L. et al. Abstract no: OA4678, Exercise and diet improve asthma control in non-obese asthma patients - a randomised controlled trial, Notable abstracts in asthma, presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress 2017 in Milan, Italy, 13 September 2017.

Tags: Allergies & Asthma | Diet & Food | Europe | Fitness | Respiratory

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