Fusing geo and health data to
high-end health knowledge

Researchers of University Utrecht (UU) have identified relations between the residential fast-food environment and the individual risk of cardiovascular diseases in the Netherlands: a nationwide one-year follow-up study that currently is under review for publication.

The study, lead by dr. Maartje Poelman, aims to contribute to existing literature by providing a longitudinal perspective on the fast-food environment and CVD by including CVD incidence rather than prevalence, derived from a large population-wide cohort (> 2 million adults).

The research shows that the incidence of CVD is higher among adults living in urban areas with elevated numbers of fast-food outlets within 1000 meter of the residential address compared to individuals with no fast-food outlets in this area, Poelman explains: ‘A dose-response relationship is evident.’

The science team calls for future studies that take a wider range of lifestyle and environmental confounders into account. ‘Public policymakers should be aware of the likely impact of urban fast-food on health, especially since the number of fast-food outlets is still increasing’, Poelman emphasizes.