The purpose of the present systematic review was to synthesize evidence from the literature to assess efficacy of the Mediterranean dietary pattern in childhood asthma.
A systematic search of six databases, three clinical trial registries and hand-search of peer-reviewed articles was conducted up to 29 October 2016. Inclusion criteria included exposure to a Mediterranean dietary pattern, measurement of asthma symptoms and study population of children aged <18 years. Quality assessment was conducted. Due to significant heterogeneity, meta-analysis was not feasible.
Of the 436 articles identified, after removal of duplicates and based on inclusion criteria, fifteen observational studies conducted in Mediterranean and non-Mediterranean countries were relevant. No randomized controlled trials were retrieved. Twelve studies reported an inverse association between adherence to a Mediterranean dietary pattern and asthma in children, two studies showed no association and one study showed an increase in asthma symptoms. In fourteen out of fifteen studies, quality assessment checks revealed good reliability and validity among study methodologies.
The current systematic review revealed a consistent inverse relationship (protective) between a Mediterranean dietary pattern and asthma in children. Future well-designed randomized controlled trials are needed to provide solid evidence. Nevertheless, the existing level of evidence adds to the public health message relating to the beneficial effects of a Mediterranean-type diet in children suffering with asthma.