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Study Finds Fast Food Greatly Increases Risk For Heart Disease

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Those who regularly consume fast food are much more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and suffer heart disease, a new study from researchers at University of Minnesota School of Public Health suggests. The study included data collected by over 52,000 subjects in China over 16 years.

The study showed those who consumed fast food three or more times a week were twice as likely to suffer from heart disease. The risk of death from heart disease related causes was also eighty percent higher in those who frequently consume fast food.

Those who consume fast food just twice a week were also twenty-seven percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and 20 percent more likely to develop heart disease.

"We wanted to examine the association of Western-style fast food with cardio-metabolic risk in a Chinese population in Southeast Asia that has become a hotbed for diabetes and heart disease," lead researcher Andrew Odegaard said.

An accompanying editorial by Harvard Professors An Pan, Vasanti Malik and Frank B. Hu entitled "Exporting Diabetes to Asia: The Impact of Western-Style Fast Food," details how the rise of fast food in Asia can be linked to spiking cases of such diseases.

"One of the most profound results of globalization has been the rapid rise in the number of Western-style fast food outlets around the world, particularly in Asian countries," the editorial stated.

"The world's largest fast food restaurant company, Yum! Brands Inc., operates nearly 38,000 restaurants (including KFC and Pizza Hut) around the world in more than 110 countries and territories, with over 4,650 fast food outlets in China."

The study was published in the July 2 online edition of the American Heart Associations journal Circulation.

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