US study highlights clear link between increased fast-food consumption and obesity

December 30, 2004

Fast-food consumption has strong positive associations with weight gain and insulin resistance, suggesting that fast food increases the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes, conclude authors of a US study in this week's issue of THE LANCET.

Obesity is increasing in the USA; at the turn of the millennium around 30% of Americans were clinically obese (having a body-mass index of 30 kg per metre squared or more) compared with 23% of the population during the period 1988-94. Obesity causes an extra 300,000 deaths among Americans and health-care costs of $100 billion each year. The effect of fast food on risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes has received little attention. Mark A Pereira (University of Minnesota), David S Ludwig (Childrens Hospital Boston), and colleagues investigated the association between reported fast-food habits and changes in bodyweight and insulin resistance over a 15-year period in the USA.

Over 3000 young (age 18-30 years in 1985-86) black and white adults were followed up with repeated dietary assessment. Overall, white women consumed less fast food (average 1.3 visits to a fast-food restaurant per week) than other ethnic groups (average 2 visits per week). Change in fast-food frequency over 15 years was directly associated with changes in bodyweight in white individuals; a weaker association was recorded among black people. Increases in fast-food consumption was associated with increased insulin resistance in both ethnic groups.

By comparison with the average 15-year weight gain in participants with infrequent (less than once a week) fast-food restaurant use at baseline and follow-up (203 individuals), those with frequent (more than twice a week) visits to fast-food restaurants at baseline and follow-up (87 individuals) gained an extra 4•5 kg of bodyweight and had a 2-fold greater increase in insulin resistance.

Dr Ludwig comments: "fast-food habits have strong, positive, and independent associations with weight gain and insulin resistance in young black and white adults. Fast-food consumption can be linked to adverse health outcomes through plausible mechanisms, and results from other studies lend support to our findings. In view of the high and increasing rates of fast-food consumption, further research into the effects of this dietary pattern on public health should be given priority."

In an accompanying commentary (p 4), Arne Astrup (RVA University, Copenhagen, Denmark), concludes: "Fast-food restaurants may argue that the evidence that customers are being super-sized by their meals is too weak. But should customers not be given the benefit of the doubt? Appropriate action would be to reduce portions to normal sizes, and to sell burgers of lean meat, whole-grain bread or buns, fat-reduced mayonnaise, more vegetables, lower-fat fried potatoes, and reduced-sugar soft drinks. Although the price may be increased, at least such changes in fast-food meals can have no adverse health-effects. Recently, some major fast-food companies have taken positive steps by launching new healthier choices, such as porridge for breakfast, and fruit and vegetables for desert. I hope that this trend continues."
-end-
Contact: Bess Andrews, Director of Public Affairs, Children's Hospital Boston, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA; T) 1-617-355-5332; elizabeth.andrews@childrens.harvard.edu

Professor Arne Vernon Astrup, Research Department of Human Nutrition, Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, 30 Rolighedsvej, DK-1958 Frederiksberg C, Copenhagen, Denmark; T) 45-35-28-24-76; ast@kvl.dk

Lancet

Related Diabetes Articles from Brightsurf:

New diabetes medication reduced heart event risk in those with diabetes and kidney disease
Sotagliflozin - a type of medication known as an SGLT2 inhibitor primarily prescribed for Type 2 diabetes - reduces the risk of adverse cardiovascular events for patients with diabetes and kidney disease.

Diabetes drug boosts survival in patients with type 2 diabetes and COVID-19 pneumonia
Sitagliptin, a drug to lower blood sugar in type 2 diabetes, also improves survival in diabetic patients hospitalized with COVID-19, suggests a multicenter observational study in Italy.

Making sense of diabetes
Throughout her 38-year nursing career, Laurel Despins has progressed from a bedside nurse to a clinical nurse specialist and has worked in medical, surgical and cardiac intensive care units.

Helping teens with type 1 diabetes improve diabetes control with MyDiaText
Adolescence is a difficult period of development, made more complex for those with Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).

Diabetes-in-a-dish model uncovers new insights into the cause of type 2 diabetes
Researchers have developed a novel 'disease-in-a-dish' model to study the basic molecular factors that lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, uncovering the potential existence of major signaling defects both inside and outside of the classical insulin signaling cascade, and providing new perspectives on the mechanisms behind insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes and possibly opportunities for the development of novel therapeutics for the disease.

Tele-diabetes to manage new-onset diabetes during COVID-19 pandemic
Two new case studies highlight the use of tele-diabetes to manage new-onset type 1 diabetes in an adult and an infant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Genetic profile may predict type 2 diabetes risk among women with gestational diabetes
Women who go on to develop type 2 diabetes after having gestational, or pregnancy-related, diabetes are more likely to have particular genetic profiles, suggests an analysis by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.

Maternal gestational diabetes linked to diabetes in children
Children and youth of mothers who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at increased risk of diabetes themselves, according to new research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Two diabetes medications don't slow progression of type 2 diabetes in youth
In youth with impaired glucose tolerance or recent-onset type 2 diabetes, neither initial treatment with long-acting insulin followed by the drug metformin, nor metformin alone preserved the body's ability to make insulin, according to results published online June 25 in Diabetes Care.

People with diabetes visit the dentist less frequently despite link between diabetes, oral health
Adults with diabetes are less likely to visit the dentist than people with prediabetes or without diabetes, finds a new study led by researchers at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and East Carolina University's Brody School of Medicine.

Read More: Diabetes News and Diabetes Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.