The Checkup: Eating Fast Food Increases Death Risk

Yikes. If you eat fast food regularly, you could be upping your risk for death from coronary heart disease by as much as 80 percent.

• This study on fast food and coronary heart disease is, well, disheartening. Researchers at the University of Minnesota found that people who consume fast food regularly have a higher risk for death from coronary heart disease than those who stay away from the drive thru. And get this: The more often you eat fast food, the greater your risk. Once a week fast-food eaters face a 20 percent greater risk; thrice-a-weekers carry a 50 percent greater risk; and those who scarf Big Macs and Whoppers four times a week or more increase their death risk by as much as 80 percent (!!). Unfortunately, there’s more: “Eating fast food two or more times a week also increased the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 27 percent,” reports the Duluth News Tribune, a local Minnesota newspaper. Researchers looked at the eating habits of 52,000 Chinese residents of Singapore, whose traditional eating habits were quickly and abruptly replaced by a Western fast-food diet; the data spanned 16 years. “What’s interesting about the results is that study participants who reported eating fast food most frequently were younger, better educated, smoked less and were more likely to be physically active,” said study author Andrew Odegaard in a statement. “This profile is normally associated with lower cardio-metabolic risk.”

• The AP asks: “Are electric bikes catching on in the U.S.?” We’ve got around 1 million of them in here at last count, but I’ve yet to see one in real life.

• This is pretty awesome: A South African runner with carbon-fiber artificial legs will become the first amputee to compete in a track event at the Olympics.