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Fast Food & Obesity

Fast Food and Weight Survey

A large study just released (Feb 2003) shows that fast-food is closely linked to weight gain, overweight and obesity – especially when combined with too much TV.

The analysis, conducted by Pereira of Boston’s Children’s Hospital, was based on a 15-year follow up of 2,027 whites and 1,726 blacks between ages 18 and 30 in Chicago, Minneapolis, Birmingham, Ala. and Oakland, Calif. He presented the data at a meeting in Miami Beach of the American Heart Association.

Fast Food and Weight Survey Findings

The key findings:

  • Whites who eat fast food twice or more a week have a 50 percent greater risk of obesity than do those who eat this way once or less.
  • Their risk of abnormal glucose control, an inability to break down sugar efficiently that often foreshadows diabetes, is double.
  • Whites who eat fast food more than twice a week and also spend at least 2 1/2 hours a day watching television have triple the risk of both obesity and abnormal glucose control, compared to those who eat out once or less and watch no more than 1 1/2 hours of TV.

Many of the men and women in the study had fast food more than three times a week. Exactly what they ate didn’t seem to matter much. Fries, burgers, breakfast sandwiches and nuggets all meant a greater risk of obesity.

Dr. Robert Eckel, director of clinical research at the University of Colorado,
noted that the people studied are at unusually high risk of weight gain, since people pile up the most pounds between ages 25 and 34.

Fast-Food Risk of Obesity

In January 2003, a federal judge in New York City threw out a class-action lawsuit blaming McDonald’s food for obesity, diabetes and other health problems in children. He said this risk is common knowledge.

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