Heart attacks might not be such a big wake-up call for some. Sure, many people turn their lives around, but consider this study that tracked fast-food habits among patients who had been hospitalized with heart attacks. Six months after having an attack, researchers say some cut back on their frequent fast-food habit — but more than half didn’t, according to a story in the Chicago Tribune.
The study published this month in the American Journal of Cardiology identified 884 heart attack patients who said they frequently — every week or more — ate fast food. That number dropped to 503 patients six months after they were released from the hospital.
“Male gender, white race, lack of college education, current employment, and dyslipidemia were independently associated with frequent fast food intake six months after AMI [acute myocardial infarction]. In contrast, older patients and those who underwent coronary bypass surgery were less likely to eat fast food frequently,” the study’s abstract said.
Researchers also suggested that “novel interventions that go beyond traditional dietary counseling may be needed” for some.
Should life and health insurers be investing in the stocks of fast-food companies?
Researchers at the Cambridge Health Alliance, which is associated with Harvard Medical School, say no, citing the downside of fast food — associations with obesity and other health problems, heavy marketing to kids and the chains’ environmental impact.
Insurers, however, have a responsibility to share- or policyholders to maximize returns, and that may include investments in companies that don’t share their health-promoting mission, they say, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal.
Sensing that potential disconnect, the Cambridge researchers set out to find out the value of major insurers’ investments in the five leading fast-food companies: Jack in the Box, McDonald’s, Burger King, Yum Brands and Wendy’s/Arby’s.
Based on shareholder data from the Icarus database, they calculated the insurers’ combined fast-food holdings totaled $1.88 billion as of last June.
Their findings, including a breakdown by company, are published today in the American Journal of Public Health. However, as with a similar analysis last year of tobacco stock holdings by insurers, companies disputed the numbers.