Jump to content
  • ENA

    Living Near Fast Food Restaurant Increases The Risk Of Ischemic Stroke

    By Margarita Nahapetyan

    People who live in neighborhoods packed with fast food restaurants have a higher risk of stroke, compared to those who reside in places far from such restaurants, according to a new study presented recently at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference in San Diego, California.

    The study was conducted by the investigators from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and focused on various areas of Nueces County, Texas, from January 2000 through June 2003. The researchers mapped 262 restaurants in the county that met criteria for fast food establishments. They considered only restaurants that had at least 2 out of four characteristics, such as rapid food service, takeout business, very limited wait staff and payment made before receiving food. In addition, they ranked the neighborhoods from most to least number of fast-food joints.

    "We need to start unraveling why these particular communities have higher stroke risks," said Professor Lewis B. Morgenstern, MD, director of the University of Michigan's stroke program and a lead author of the study. "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?"

    From analysis, it was revealed that people living in neighborhoods with a large number of fast food restaurants (33 on average), were 13 per cent more likely to have ischemic stroke than people who lived near just 12 fast food outlets. From the data gathered the researchers found 1,247 cases of ischemic stroke (strokes caused by blood clots) in 64 census tracts in Nueces County, which includes Corpus Christi.

    For every additional fast food restaurant in a designated neighborhood, the relative stroke risk increased by 1 per cent, according to the authors. "The data show a true association," says Morgenstern. "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."

    A stroke is a sudden death of brain cells in a localized area which is caused by inadequate blood flow. The condition occurs when blood flow is interrupted to some part of the brain. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease and cancer. According to the latest estimates of the CDC, more than 700,000 cases of stroke occur every year in the country, and nearly 150,000 people die of it. The researchers said that out of all strokes yearly happening in the United States, the majority are ischemic.

    Previous findings have shown that fast food restaurants contributed in promoting cardiovascular diseases. As a result, some food chains started offering healthier food choices. The current team noted that with consumption of high-fat, high-salt food of fast-food joints, people risk to face such conditions as obesity and stroke, however they were quick to point out that other unhealthy choices made by people such as smoking, drinking excessive alcohol, and not exercising also added to the risk factors.

    The study suggests that yet more information is needed to figure out exactly why strokes are higher in neighborhoods highly concentrated with fast food restaurants.

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    There are no comments to display.

    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an account

    Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now

  • Create New...