Western-Style Fast Food Intake and Cardio-Metabolic Risk in an Eastern Country

Posted On 2012-07-09 12:04:10
In a recent paper published in Circulation, the authors from the University of Minnesota and University of Singapore examined the association of western-style fast food intake with the risk of incident type 2 diabetes (T2D) and coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality in Chinese Singaporeans. (1) In the background, the authors explain that dietary patterns with frequent intake of Western-style fast food contribute to poor cardio-metabolic health in the US. With globalization, this way of eating is becoming more common in developing and recently developed populations. 

This current studye included men and women aged 45-74 who enrolled in the Singapore Chinese Health Study between 1993-1998. For CHD mortality 52,584 participants were included and 1,397 deaths were identified through 2009 via registry linkage. For T2D 43,176 participants were included and 2,252 cases were identified during the follow-up interview (1999-2004). Hazard ratios for incident T2D and CHD mortality were estimated with thorough adjustment for demographic, lifestyle and dietary factors. Chinese Singaporeans with relatively frequent intake of western-style fast food items (≥ 2 times per week) had an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes (HR=1.27, 95% CI= 1.03-1.54) and dying from CHD (HR=1.56, 95% CI= 1.18-2.06) relative to their peers with little or no reported intake. 

These associations were not materially altered by adjustments for overall dietary pattern, energy intake, and body mass index. 

The authors conclude that Western-style fast food intake is associated with increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and of CHD mortality in an eastern population. These findings suggest the need for further attention to global dietary acculturation in the context of ongoing epidemiologic and nutrition transitions. 

In an accomapnying editorial, investigators from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital& Harvard Medical School discuss the paper. (2) The authors state that “ if measures are not taked to abote these trends, the twin epidemics of obesity and diabetes in Asian countries could have the potential to overwhelm fragile health cares systems and counteract remarkable achievements in economic growth” . 

See also related topic: https://www.amepc.org/cdt/post/view/growth-urbanization-and-health-in-china.

1. Odegaard AO, Koh WP, Yuan JM, Gross MD, Pereira MA. Western-Style Fast Food Intake and Cardio-Metabolic Risk in an Eastern Country. Circulation. 2012 Jul 2. [Epub ahead of print]
2. Pan A, Malik V, Hu FB. Exporting Diabetes to Asia: The Impact of Western-Style Fast Food Circulation. 2012 Jul 2. [Epub ahead of print]