Friday, February 1, 2008

Fast food and obesity risk

Researchers from the IMIM-Hospital del Mar have confirmed the relationship between the consumption of fast food (like burgers and fries) and the increase in the risk of suffering obesity in a Catalan population, in the first population study of the type done in Europe.

The researchers analysed data from 3,054 people from Girona, who were between 25 and 74 years old and from all socioeconomic levels. Their usual food ingest was collected, the energy value of their diet was calculated and other variables, such as physical activity and alcohol consumption or smoking, were taken into account. About 1% of the population studied consumed fast food more than once a week; they presented a lower dietetic quality which was not compensated by a balanced diet on the rest of the meals. Also, their risk of suffering obesity increased 129%.

American studies had already demonstrated the association between this diet and obesity, but according to Helmut Schröder, principal researcher of this study, “it is necessary to put the effects of the change in habits of our population in context, according to our life style”. Now it will be necessary that these results are taken into account when developing strategies to fight the increasing levels of obesity in Europe.

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