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Fast Food Equals Fast Track To Diabetes

December 30, 2009

Regularly consuming super-sized portions of high-calorie fast food, such as fried chicken, may dramatically increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

In an email to Reuters Health, Dr. Julie R. Palmer of Boston University in Massachusetts says, “Moreover, it is well established that becoming overweight or obese greatly increases a person’s chance of developing (type 2) diabetes.”

According to a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, black women who consumed fast food burgers or fried chicken at least twice a week were 40 to 70 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes over 10 years.

Palmer and colleagues looked at fast food consumption, lifestyle habits, and the development of diabetes in 44,072 black women who filled out biennial questionnaires, beginning in 1995.

On average, women who ate burgers, fried chicken or fish, or Chinese food more than once a week had higher body mass index (BMI).

BMI is a number, derived by using height and weight measurements, that gives a general indication if weight falls within a healthy range. A normal BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9.

Palmer and colleagues found not only was the fast food eating group in the 28 to 29 range, which according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control is clearly overweight, but that the group also gained weight during the study.

Palmer’s team suggests similar associations are likely for other women and men, and highlight the need for further investigations into any fast food/diabetes link among other populations.

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