In a new study, researchers found that for each new fast-food outlet the number of heart attacks per 100,000 people went up by four.
The research was conducted by a team at the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) and elsewhere.
There is a well-established link between fast food consumption and cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack.
This highlights the need to explore the role of food availability in the probability of having a heart attack.
In the study, the team aimed to determine whether the number of fast-food outlets could be considered an environmental risk factor for heart attack.
They focused on the 10 most popular fast-food outlets in Australia and used census data to determine the density per 100,000 people in each local government area.
They found that fast-food outlet number was positively correlated with an increase in a heart attack.
While it has been known for some time that consuming fast food was bad for the heart, no one had determined whether the number of stores was itself a predicting factor.
These results provide an important consideration for future public‐health policy and community development.
The team says that developing a new metric to calculate fast-food outlet density was key to the study and there was scope to expand the data to look at more outlets in the future.
The study is published in the Internal Medicine Journal. One author of the study is Dr. Tarunpreet Saluja.
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