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Youth Studying Closed to Fast Food Restaurants Tend to be Obese!

Posted Feb 25 2009 3:52pm
Fast food has been accused as the culprit responsible for the prevailing obesity epidemic among the youngsters. Evidence has already shown that obese people have higher chance of getting heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and many other medical disorders.

Consumer groups have actively pushed for laws on new fast food restaurants in certain Los Angeles neighborhoods, and the food industry often responds and maintains that a lack of exercise is more to blame.

The youth obesity rates in United States have tripled since 1980, although they did level off this decade. According to the figures from government, 32 percent of United States children are overweight and 16 percent are obese.

Published on December 23, 2008 in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers from Azusa Pacific University in California reported that youth who study near a fast-food outlet eat fewer servings of fruit and vegetables, drink more soda, and they are more likely to be obese or overweight than students at other schools are.

Involving more than 500,000 adolescents at middle schools and high schools in California, the study examined the relationship between obesity among these students and fast food restaurants located within half a mile (0.8 km) of schools.

The weight and dietary information from a statewide school survey between 2002 and 2005 were recorded and the data was cross-referenced with a database of top fast food chains located near each school.

The researchers discovered that fast food outlets near schools did affect students’ eating habits, and hence overweight and obesity. Results clearly showed that students, who were exposed to nearby fast food, have a higher level of body mass index. In other words, they just weighed more. However, they could not determine the exact rationale why fast food restaurants near schools have such an impact.

Possible explanation should go beyond than easy accessing to burgers, fries and tacos. Perhaps, ‘a nearby fast food restaurant is a perfect location for people to socialize’ might be the reason.
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