French Fries Diet Linked To Heart Disease, Diabetes Risk In Southeast Asia
By Anusuya Das | Health & Medicine
August 6, 2012
The rapid growth of fast food companies in Southeast Asia is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes in this population, say researchers.
AsianScientist (Aug. 6, 2012) – Southeast Asians regularly eating hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries, and pizza are increasing their risk of dying from coronary heart disease and developing type 2 diabetes, according to new research published in the journal Circulation.
Chinese adults living in Singapore who reported eating American-style fast food twice a week were 56 percent more likely to die of heart disease and 27 percent more likely to develop diabetes compared to those eating none, researchers found.
Furthermore, Chinese-Singaporeans eating fast food four times or more each week had nearly an 80 percent increased risk of dying from coronary heart disease, researchers said.
“Western style fast food intake in East and Southeast Asia started becoming more prominent in the late 1980s into the 1990s. This provided an avenue to participate in American culture, which is very different from the historical dietary culture of these populations,” said lead author Andrew Odegaard from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.
Study participants were 45 to 74 years old when they enrolled in the Singapore Chinese Health Study. In the 16-year study (1993-2009) of 52,584 Chinese-Singaporeans, 1,397 died from coronary heart disease, and 2,252 new cases of diabetes occurred.
At the start of the study, researchers used in-person interviews and a specially designed food frequency questionnaire tailored for this population assessing 165 food items commonly consumed. The questionnaire inquired on six fast food items: hamburgers and cheeseburgers, French fries, pizza, deep fried chicken, hot dogs, and other fast food sandwiches.
American or Western-style fast foods are typically high in calories and served in large portions, featuring meat, processed meat, and highly refined carbohydrates. They are also usually high in sodium and cholesterol and have a poor dietary fat profile.
Those with a more frequent intake of American-style fast food ate less vegetables (excluding white potatoes), dairy products, rice, carbohydrates, and dietary fiber, the study found. They were also younger, less likely to have high blood pressure, better educated, smoked less, and more likely to be physically active.
The rapid growth of U.S.-based fast food companies in Southeast Asia has helped to introduce restaurant-based, western-style fast food there. The study’s results suggest that more attention should be paid to global behavioral and dietary changes as cultures interact with one another, Odegaard said.
The article can be found at: Odegaard AO et al. (2012) Western-Style Fast Food Intake and Cardiometabolic Risk in an Eastern Country.
Source: AHA; Photo: wiccked/Flickr.
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