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Stroke Risk Linked To Proximity Of Fast Food Restaurants

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Friday, February 20, 2009 11:25 AM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: Fast Foods, Restaurants, Stroke, Protecting Your Family

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IMAGE SOURCE: Wikimedia Commons / McDonalds french fries / Kici

New research presented at the International Stroke Conference, in California this week, suggests stroke risk is linked to the number of fast food restaurants in a given area.

Fast food is the undisputed food king in the United States. There are over 300,000 fast food restaurants in this country alone.

The study was led by Dr. Lewis B. Morgenstern, director of the stroke program at the University of Michigan.

Researchers have been tracking strokes in Nueces County, Texas, since 2000. They looked at 1,247 strokes registered in Nueces from the inception of BASIC through June 2003. They also identified 262 restaurants in the county that met criteria for fast food establishments.

“The risk of stroke in a neighborhood increased by 1 percent for every fast-food restaurant,” wrote the authors.

The researchers conclude that there is “a significant association between fast food restaurants and stroke risk” but more research is needed, Dr. Morgenstern said.

“We still don’t know if fast food increases the risk because of its contents or whether fast food eateries are a marker of unhealthy neighborhoods,” he said.

Still, he adds, if there is an association, the findings pose a large public health risk due to the high prevalence of fast food restaurants.

Some Disagree

“The study is flawed. By its own admission the research fails to show a correlation between dining at fast food chains and incidence of stroke,” Beth Johnson, spokeswoman for the National Restaurant Association said. “Further, it tells us nothing about the eating and exercise habits of those involved.”

Approximately 600,000 strokes occur each year with 160,000 victims dying as a result.

The study was paid for by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke. #


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