Tuesday February 18, 2020

Australian National University Study Warns Link Between Fast Food and Dementia

Dementia is the leading cause of death in Australian women, while for men it is second only to heart disease

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A combination hamburger served in Pyongyang, North Korea, June 12, 2018. A new Australian study links fast food, like burgers, to dementia. VOA

Research from the Australian National University (ANU) is warning of a link between the extra calories in a fast-food burger and brain diseases, including dementia.

People are “eating away at their brain with a really bad fast-food diet and little to no exercise,” the lead author of the study said. The ANU study also reinforces the link between type 2 diabetes, which is often triggered by obesity, and the rapid deterioration of brain function.

Dementia is the leading cause of death in Australian women, while for men it is second only to heart disease.

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The study revealed a significant correlation between AGEs and junk food consumption, said Roberto Berni Canani, Associate Professor at the University of Naples Federico II in Italy. Pixabay

A clear link

Researchers believe there is a clear link between the deterioration of the brain and an unhealthy diet as well as a lack of exercise. There is a warning that highly processed fast food that is cheap, widely available and loaded with calories, sugar and fat is leading to significant harm.

The study from the ANU says that the damage to the brain is almost certainly irreversible once a person reaches middle age. Professor Nicolas Cherbuin says lifestyle choices really do matter.

“Poorer diet leads to the development of obesity,” he said. “It is compounded by the lack of physical activity, it leads to an increased level of inflammation in our body, which when it is [in] response to trauma is a good thing. But when it is constantly there it creates damage. It also kills neurons, so it affects our brain function and it leads to ultimately a greater risk of developing dementia later in life.”

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Junk Food. Wikimedia Commons

ALSO READ: High Consumption of Junk Food May Spike up Allergies in Children

A third of adults overweight, obese

The research says that about a third of the world’s adult population is either overweight or obese. The advice is to eat well and exercise from a young age. It is estimated that dementia affects almost 50 million people worldwide, and the global cost of the brain syndromes, including Alzheimer’s disease, is more than $800 billion.

At present there is no prevention or cure for most forms of dementia. However, some medication has been found to reduce some symptoms. (VOA)

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Here’s why Children Should Avoid Consuming Fast Food

Eating fast food can make kids fat

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Researchers have found that fast food intake can independently contribute to excess weight gain among children. Pixabay

If you want your children to stay in shape, do not allow them to indulge in burgers and pizzas. Health and lifestyle researchers have found that fast food intake can independently contribute to excess weight gain among children.

Being overweight and obese increases the risk of numerous physical and psychosocial problems during childhood, including fatty liver disease, Type-2 diabetes and depression.

“We now know from our studies and others, that kids who start on the path of extra weight gain during this really important time frame tend to carry it forward into adolescence and adulthood, and this sets them up for major health consequences as they get older,” said first author Jennifer Emond, Assistant Professor at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College, US.

“To our knowledge, ours is the first study to follow a cohort over time and to show that fast food, by itself, uniquely contributes to weight gain,” explained Emond.

Previous research has shown that fast food intake is common among children and has suggested that there is an association between fast food consumption and children becoming overweight or obese.

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Findings from this research should be used to inform guidelines and policies that can reduce fast food marketing exposure to children and help support parents who may be struggling to adopt healthier eating behaviours for their kids. Pixabay

But it has not been clear whether eating fast food independently contributes to excess weight gain at such a young age.

In an effort to make this determination, the investigators followed a cohort of more than 500 pre-school age children (ages 3 to 5) and their families in southern New Hampshire for one year.

The height and weight of the children were measured at the beginning and end of the study published in the journal Pediatric Obesity.

Parents reported their children’s fast food intake frequency weekly – from 11 chain fast food restaurants – in six online surveys that were completed at two-month intervals.

The researchers found that at the beginning of the study, about 18 per cent of the children were overweight and nearly 10 per cent were obese.

Importantly, about 8 per cent of the children transitioned to a greater weight status over the one-year period.

Also Read- Ways to Combat Online Body Shaming

“Unlike with past research, we were able to adjust for other factors – such as exercise and screen time – that could possibly explain away this relationship,” Emond said.

“Findings from this research should be used to inform guidelines and policies that can reduce fast food marketing exposure to children and help support parents who may be struggling to adopt healthier eating behaviours for their kids,” she added. (IANS)