Areas with high density of fast food outlets had greater prevalence of MI compared with other areas, according to findings presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand.
The addition of one fast food outlet per 100,000 people to an area resulted in an increase of more than four MIs per year, researchers reported.
“Ischemic heart disease, including heart attack, is one of the leading causes of death worldwide,” Tarunpreet Saluja, from the University of Newcastle in Callaghan, Australia, said in a press release. “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.”
Saluja and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study of MIs between 2011 and 2013 documented in the Hunter Cardiac and Stroke Outcomes unit. The cohort consisted of 3,070 patients stratified by local government entity and fast food outlet availability within their local government entity.
The researchers found fast food outlet density was positively correlated with MI even after adjustment for age, obesity, smoking, hyperlipidemia, hypertension and diabetes (P < .001).
In addition, Saluja and colleagues calculated that an increase of one fast food outlet per 100,000 people in a local government area correlated with 4.12 additional MIs per year (95% CI, 3.88-4.35).
“The 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,” Saluja said in the release. “The results emphasize the importance of the food environment as a potential contributor toward health. ... 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 [European Society of Cardiology] guidelines recommend the regulation of fast food outlet density in community settings.” – by Erik Swain
Saluja T, et al. Abstract 394. Presented at: Annual Scientific Meeting of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand; Aug. 8-11, 2019; Adelaide, Australia.
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