AUG 14, 2019 10:58 AM PDT

Living Near Fast Food Increases Heart Attack Risk

WRITTEN BY: Julia Travers

A new study examines the relationship between heart attacks and fast food chain-proximity.

Heart disease, including heart attacks, are one of the leading causes of death around the world. A diet full of fast foods, which are commonly high in saturated fat and salt and low in nutritional value, has previously been connected to heart disease. A new study out of Australia finds that living in an area with fast food chains directly increases the likelihood of heart issues, independent of many other risk factors. These findings highlight food-access and community planning issues that are relevant across the globe.

"The findings were consistent across rural and metropolitan areas of New South Wales and after adjusting for age, obesity, high blood lipids, high blood pressure, smoking status and diabetes. The results emphasize the importance of the food environment as a potential contributor towards health,” study author Tarunpreet Saluja of the University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia told EurekAlert.

Saluja’s retrospective cohort study used data on 3,070 patients who had heart attacks in the Hunter Region between 2011 and 2013. The patients’ home address, postal code and the surrounding food environment were analyzed, focusing on the ten most popular fast food retailers in Australia. Saluja said his study clarifies the relationship “between greater access to these restaurants” and heart disease. “This is why [European Society of Cardiology (ESC)] guidelines recommend the regulation of fast food outlet density in community settings."

Professor Jeroen Bax, former ESC president and course director of the ESC 2019 CSANZ program, said, "In addition to regulating the location and density of fast food outlets, local areas should ensure good access to supermarkets with healthy food."

Around the world, policies that take food access into consideration can prevent the growth of “food deserts,” defined by the American Nutrition Association as areas “vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas.” Food deserts can develop because of the placement of stores and restaurants (as described in this study), high food prices, deficits in public transit, residents not owning vehicles or having limited mobility, and other factors. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) runs a food-access map and atlas that covers food access indicators and information, including “census-tract-level data on food access that can be downloaded for community planning or research purposes.”

"Impact of Fast food Outlet Density on Incidence of Acute Myocardial Infarction in the Hunter Region" was presented at the 67th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand (CSANZ) in August in Adelaide, Australia, during the "Clinical/Surgery Mini Oral Session" on Saturday, August 10. The ESC and CSANZ held joint sessions.

 

Article sources:

EurekAlert

American Nutrition Association

USDA

 
About the Author
  • Julia Travers is a writer, artist and teacher. She frequently covers science, tech, conservation and the arts. She enjoys solutions journalism. Find more of her work at jtravers.journoportfolio.com.
You May Also Like
AUG 27, 2020
Cardiology
Are Dry Mouth and Hypertension Connected?
AUG 27, 2020
Are Dry Mouth and Hypertension Connected?
Dry mouth is one of those things you sort of ignore until you can refill your water bottle. Maybe you should take a seco ...
SEP 16, 2020
Neuroscience
Blood Lipid Levels Predict Depression and Anxiety
SEP 16, 2020
Blood Lipid Levels Predict Depression and Anxiety
While people often experience anxiety and depression together, psychiatrists classify them as different disorders. And n ...
OCT 22, 2020
Cardiology
Using Liposomes to Deliver Repair Packages to the Heart
OCT 22, 2020
Using Liposomes to Deliver Repair Packages to the Heart
The secret to any successful drug is not just its ability to treat a disease but its ability to target the disease exclu ...
NOV 03, 2020
Cardiology
A New Peptide Could Help Repair and Protect the Heart During Ischemia Reperfusion Injury
NOV 03, 2020
A New Peptide Could Help Repair and Protect the Heart During Ischemia Reperfusion Injury
Cardiovascular disease is one of the most common causes of death in the world. Although we have many treatments against ...
NOV 03, 2020
Cardiology
The Right Diet Can Help Heart Health & Lower Inflammation
NOV 03, 2020
The Right Diet Can Help Heart Health & Lower Inflammation
Most people know that certain foods are better for our health than others. Some types of food can increase, while other ...
NOV 10, 2020
Cardiology
Liposomal Delivery Could Help Prevent Doxorubicin Cardiotoxicity
NOV 10, 2020
Liposomal Delivery Could Help Prevent Doxorubicin Cardiotoxicity
One of the greatest failures of modern cancer therapies is the rather substantial off-target toxic effects many radio-, ...
Loading Comments...