Big Mac Attack

March 16th, 2009 | Sources: BurrillReport

Residents in neighborhoods having the highest density of fast-food restaurants are 13% more likely to sustain an ischemic stroke than those living in areas sparsely populated by the cholesterol dens.

At least that’s what a team of scientists led by Lewis Morgenstern of the University of Michigan reported at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference last week.

mayattackbrainThe team observed the association by analyzing information regarding 1,247 ischemic strokes that took place in Nueces County, Texas over a 2 ½ year period ending in June 2003.

Data had been collected in a stroke registry known as the Brain Attack Surveillance in Corpus Christi project. That is not a good name, by the way.

Neuces County has 262 fast-food restaurants, according to the scientists, who defined them as having at least 2 of the following: limited or absent waiters and waitresses, you pay before you get the goods, fast service and a lot of takeout orders.
 
The scientists then determined the number of fast-food outlets in all 64 of the County’s US Census Bureau tracts, and ranked them by the number of outlets. The low-density quartile had fewer than 12 lipid bazaars, while the high-density neighborhoods boasted 33 or more.
 
According to the scientists, each grease joint hiked the relative risk of stroke by 1%.
 
But Morgenstern was cautious about over-interpreting his team’s findings. The neurology professor told BurrillReport “what we don’t know is whether fast food actually increased the risk because of its contents, or whether fast-food restaurants are a marker of unhealthy neighborhoods.”

“Is it direct consumption of fast food? Is it the lack of more healthy options? Is there something completely different in these neighborhoods that is associated with poor health?”


 

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