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Burgers, Fries May Worsen Asthma, Study Finds

High-fat meals that have become common in westernized countries may have another side effect beyond bulging waistlines. They also may worsen asthma attacks, a new study finds.

The findings, reported on by LiveScience, showed that asthma patients who ate a high-fat meal of burgers and hash browns experienced increased inflammation in their airways, as opposed to patients who ate a low-fat meal of yogurt. Those who ate the fatty meals also didn't respond as well to treatment.

"If these results can be confirmed by further research, this suggests that strategies aimed at reducing dietary fat intake may be useful in managing asthma," study researcher Lisa Wood, of the University of Newcastle, told LiveScience.

Asthma has become increasingly prevalent in recent decades, increasing in frequency by 75 percent between 1980 and 1994. In 2007, around 34.1 million Americans had asthma, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.