Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fast Food Intake Increases Risk of Diabetes and Heart Disease in Singapore

Eating Western-style fast food on a regular basis significantly increased the risk of diabetes and coronary heart disease in a Chinese population in Southeast Asia.

The few existing studies on the association of fast food and metabolic risk have looked almost exclusively at Western-Caucasian populations from the United States.

Now, University of Minnesota School of Public Health researchers have examined the eating habits of residents in Singapore and found new evidence that a diet heavy in fast food increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease.

The latest research found that people who consume fast food even once a week increase their risk of dying from coronary heart disease by 20 percent in comparison to people who avoid fast food.

For people eating fast food two-three times each week, the risk increases by 50 percent, and the risk climbs to nearly 80 percent for people who consume fast food items four or more times each week.

Eating fast food two or more times a week was also found to increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 27 percent.

To arrive at their results, School of Public Health researchers worked alongside researchers from the National University of Singapore. Together, they examined results of a study conducted over a period of 16 years beginning in 1993, which looked at the eating habits of 52,000 Chinese residents of Singapore who have experienced a recent and sudden transition from traditional foods to Western-style fast food.


 "What's interesting about the results is that study participants who reported eating fast food most frequently were younger, better educated, smoked less and were more likely to be physically active," said Odegaard. "This profile is normally associated with lower cardio-metabolic risk."

According to the study's senior researcher, Mark Pereira, of the School of Public Health's Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, the new research provides an important perspective on global health and the nutrition transfer when cultures developing in different parts of the world start moving away from their traditional diet and mode of exercise.

"Global public health efforts should focus on maintaining the positive aspects of traditional cultures, while preventing the spread of outside influences thought to be harmful based on the scientific evidence," he said.


The above story is based on the July 2, 2012 news release by University of Minnesota Academic Health Center.

The research is published online July 2 by the American Heart Association's journal Circulation:
Odegaard AO, Koh WP, Yuan JM, Gross MD, Pereira MA. Western-Style Fast Food Intake and Cardio-Metabolic Risk in an Eastern Country. Circulation, DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.111.084004

The Zestzfulness Team believes the results of this study is relevant to all of us, not just those of Chinese descent.

How to Eat Healthy at Fast-Food Restaurants
Fast food is cheap, convenient, filling, and to many of us it tastes good. Unfortunately, eating just one fast food meal can pack enough calories, sodium, and fat for an entire day or more. Eating fast food on a regular basis can lead to a host of different health problems. Still, the quick-and-cheap temptation can often be hard to resist.  As an informed customer, you can make healthier choices and still enjoy the price and convenience of fast food restaurants.
Source: Maya W. Paul and Lawrence Robinson at, a nonprofit organisation.

Click HERE for tips to making healthier fast food choices 

1 comment:

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