BOSTONDining at restaurants or fast-food venues on a regular basis, or consuming at least two sugar-sweetened soft drinks per day, increases obesity risk in African American women, according to a new study published in the journal Ethnicity & Disease.
Researchers at Boston University examined the association between consumption of foods from restaurants and risk of becoming obese in a large cohort of young African American women.
The study used data from the Black Womens Health Study, an ongoing investigation of the health of 59,000 African American women that began in 1995. The analysis included younger women, ages 21 to 39 years, because most weight gain occurs before middle age. The women studied were not obese and had no history of cancer or cardiovascular disease at the start of follow-up.
Diet was assessed twice (in 1995 and 2001) using validated questionnaires, and information on the participants weights was collected every two years from the studys start until 2011. The researchers examined the relationship of consumption of restaurant foods and sugar-sweetened soft drinks with risk of developing obesity.
The researchers found that women who ate burgers from restaurants at least twice a week were 26% more likely to become obese by the end of the study than those who rarely ate burgers.
In addition, women who drank at least two sugar-sweetened soft drinks per day were 10% more likely to become obese than those who drank none.
The identification of individual foods or beverages that are associated with weight gain provides a basis for specific and straightforward recommendations to help prevent obesity," the authors concluded.