It’s well known that eating fast food regularly will likely result in heart disease. With western markets saturated with fast food outlets, fast food companies have been expanding to the east. A new study has found that along with burgers and fries, fast food companies have been exporting heart disease to China and other eastern markets.
Unleashed in the East
The dangerously unhealthy consequences of fast food have been well documented among predominantly Caucasian Western populations. According to researchers from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Asians are no different. The expansion of Western fast food operations into Southeast Asia has left a trail of heart disease and diabetes in its wake.
Singapore embraces fast food
In the first study to examine directly the association between Western-style fast food and lifestyle-related diseases in populations outside the U.S., University of Minnesota researchers teamed up with counterparts from the National University of Singapore, a country that has embraced Western-style fast food at the expense of traditional fare. They analyzed data from a 16-year study tracking the dietary habits of more that 50,000 Chinese living in Singapore.
Burgers, fries, somebody dies
The Singapore Chinese Health Study started in 1993, with follow-up telephone interviews from1999 to 2004. Participants were asked about the frequency, type, and portion size of Western-style fast food including burgers, fries, pizza, fried chicken, hot dogs, and other types of sandwiches.
Participants eating fast food two-three times each week increased their risk of developing heart disease by 50 percent and type 2 diabetes by 27 percent. Heart disease risk shot up to 80 percent for people who eat fast food four or more times per week.
Young people at risk
“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 lead author Andrew O. Odegaard, Ph.D., in a report on the study published in the journal Circulation. “This profile is normally associated with lower cardio-metabolic risk.”
Apparently heart disease and diabetes could be ranked among America’s leading cultural exports. There are probably better ways reduce the trade deficit.