Friday, May 13, 2005

Correlation between fast food and heart attacks

A new study in Ontario found that death rates in areas with the highest concentration of quick-service restaurants were twice as high as those in places with fewer fast food outlets, local press reported Thursday.

The study found that heart attack hospitalization rates were about 11.5 times higher in the areas with high density of quick service restuarants. A high-density region was considered to have 20 or more eateries per 100,000 population.

"We've found an important link between the number of fast-food outlets in a region and the rate of heart disease and mortality in that region," said Dr. David Alter, lead author of the study by Canada's Institute for Clinical and Evaluative Sciences (ICES).

The study also looked at differences based on socioeconomic status, but the association between fast-food density and poor health outcomes held fast, Alter said. "It was the same whether these were affluent communities or impoverished communities."

Stephen Samis, director of health policy for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, agreed on the importance of continuing to remind Canadians to eat a healthy and balanced diet.

However, the Canadian Restaurant and Food services Association called the research flawed and misleading.


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