Study finds fast food linked to heart attack

Washington D.C.: A recent study has found that localities having more number of fast-food joints can have maximum cases of heart attacks. The research also concluded that there were four heart attacks corresponding to every additional outlet per 10 lakh people.

The study was published in the journal ‘European Heart Journal’.

Researchers at the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand (CSANZ), emphasised the importance of the food environment as a potential contributor towards health and said that their findings were consistent across rural and metropolitan areas of New South Wales and after adjusting for age, obesity, high blood lipids, high blood pressure, smoking status, and diabetes.

“Ischaemic heart disease, including heart attack, is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. It is known that eating fast foods is linked with a higher likelihood of fatal and nonfatal heart attacks. Despite this, there is rapid growth in the purchase and availability of fast food. This highlights the need to explore the role of food availability in the probability of having a heart attack,” said Tarunpreet Saluja, study author at the University of Newcastle.

The retrospective cohort study included 3,070 patients admitted to the hospital with a heart attack in the Hunter Region between 2011 to 2013. The database contained each patient’s home postcode, allowing the researchers to analyse their surrounding fast food environment.

Fast food outlets were defined as the ten most popular quick-service food retailers in Australia, based on a population survey conducted in 2018. The researchers recorded the total number of outlets within each local government area and compared different areas to analyse the association between the density of fast-food restaurants and the incidence of a heart attack.

“Previous studies have shown that the poor nutritional value, high salt and saturated fat in fast food is connected to heart disease, yet the role of greater access to these restaurants has been less clear,” added Saluja.

“The link with poor health adds a community lens to cardiovascular disease management and stresses the need to target this issue in future public health promotion strategies and legislation. This is why ESC guidelines recommend the regulation of fast food outlet density in community settings” he added.