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Fast food

New study links fast food to increased weight

Monday, January 22, 2007 by: M.T. Whitney
Tags: fast food, BMI, obesity


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(NewsTarget) Results from a recent study yield stronger evidence to correlate fast food with increased body weight.

A collection of nearly 3,400 young adults were tested for a decade, and with each fast food meal they ingested, their body mass index (BMI) went up by a significant percentage, said Barry M. Popkin of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, one of the lead scientists for the study.

It’s “enough of an effect to take you from being non-diabetic to diabetic," said Popkin director of the Interdisciplinary Obesity Center at UNC.

For today’s American, almost half of their calorie intake – 42 percent – comes from food eaten away from home each year, Popkin said. This represents an increase from previous decades when obesity rates among Americans are on the rise.

The research study separated eating out at fast food places versus traditional restaurants. Its principle findings were created through comparing the BMI of each participant during the seventh year of the study and their BMI at the tenth year. The more fast food the participant ate each week, the higher their BMI was. For each extra fast food meal eaten during year 7, the average participants’ BMI increased by 0.13 points; for the same results during year 10, it yielded a 0.24 point increase.

Miniscule point increases add up during the course of a year. For an average person 5 foot 10 inches tall, gaining 0.24 points of BMI equals gaining 1.7 pounds for the week. If one were to add more and more fast food meals as part of their weekly diet, they can add a lot more girth over the course of a year.

However, eating at traditional restaurants is okay, the study found. Researchers found no increase in BMI from eating at traditional restaurants, and in some cases found it lowered BMI.

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