Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Chances of Stroke


If you live in a neighborhood with a lot of fast food restaurants, you may be at a higher risk for stroke, according to a new study by Dr. Lewis B. Morgenstern, a professor of neurology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

"The only thing we are certain about is, if you live in a neighborhood with a high fast-food restaurant concentration, you are at increased risk," Morgenstern said at the International Stroke Conference in San Diego on Thursday.

Morgenstern's research team gathered data on stroke cases in Nueces County, Texas, and found 1,247 cases of ischemic stroke having occurred between January 2000 through June 2003

According to HealthDay:

"The researchers then determined the number of fast-food restaurants in the county -- 262 -- and zeroed in on 64 U.S. Census Bureau tracts to determine the number of fast-food outlets in each area. They counted only restaurants that had at least two of four characteristics: rapid food service, takeout business, either no or a very limited wait staff and payment made before receiving food. And they ranked the neighborhoods from most to least number of fast-food outlets."

At the conference, Morgenstern said that "there was a 13 percent increased risk of stroke in the top 25 percent compared to the lowest 25 percent."

There is some debate, however, as to whether the research proves a direct connection between fast food placement and stroke likelihood. "It's interesting, but we don't know if it is causal," Dr. Ralph Sacco, chairman of the department of neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said to HealthDay.



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