Areas with a higher number of fast food restaurants have more heart attacks; according to research presented at CSANZ 2019. The study also found that for every additional fast food outlet, there were four additional heart attacks per 100,000 people each year. The 67th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand (CSANZ) takes place 8 to 11 August in Adelaide, Australia. The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and CSANZ are holding joint scientific sessions as part of the ESC Global Activities program.
Nonfatal heart attack
“Ischaemic heart disease, including heart attack, is one of the leading causes of death worldwide,” continued Mr Saluja. “It is known that eating fast foods is link 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.” This retrospective cohort study include 3,070 patients admit to hospital with a heart attack in the Hunter Region between 2011 to 2013.
The database contain each patient’s home postcode; so allowing the researchers to analyze their surrounding fast food environment. Fast food outlets were define as the ten most popular quick service food retailers in Australia; base on a population survey conduct in 2018. The researchers record the total number of outlets within each local government area; also compare different areas to analyze the association; so between density of fast food restaurants and incidence of heart attack.
“Previous studies have shown that the poor nutritional value; so high salt and saturate fat in fast food is connected to heart disease, yet the role of greater access to these restaurants has been less clear,” said Mr Saluja. “The ubiquitous presence of fast food is an important consideration for the ongoing development of rural and metropolitan areas,” he added. “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.
Social determinants of disease
Professor Tom Marwick, Chair of the CSANZ 2019 Scientific Programme Committee, said: “This is an important paper that documents the association between fast foods and cardiac events; so independent of risk factors. It will be crucial to explore whether this association is independent of the social determinants of disease; hence as they know that fast food outlets are often more common in disadvantaged areas.
Nonetheless, the findings are a reminder that the fundamental drivers of cardiovascular disease; so burden may be altered by changes in public policy. The fact that the appropriate policy steps have not take; despite the cost of cardiovascular disease; remains as much a mystery in Australia as elsewhere in the world.”
Professor Jeroen Bax, Past President of the ESC; also course director of the ESC program at CSANZ 2019, said: “Tackling heart disease requires individual responsibility and actions at population level. This study highlights the impact of the food environment on health. In addition to regulating the location and density of fast food outlets; local areas should ensure good access to supermarkets with healthy food.”