You may want to think twice before heading to Burger King for a quick dinner tonight. Researchers at the University of California, Davis have determined that even eating just one fast food meal could be dangerous for your health. A serving of fried chicken or a burger bumps up your BMI (or Body Mass Index, a measurement of height to weight ratio), by .03 points.
That might not sound like a lot, but researchers say that it’s extremely concerning, and that governments need to step up to make Big Macs and fried chicken less attractive.
“The take-home message is that, although free-market policies are not to be demonized, it appears quite clear that in order to fight the obesity epidemic, a stronger role of government intervention is necessary,” Dr. Roberto De Vogli of the department of Public Health Sciences at the University of California, Davis, told NBC.
While fast food transactions increased per capita, worldwide, the average BMI jumped from 25.8 to 26.4. The team of researchers also found that the looser the government regulation of fast food intake was, the higher the average BMI in that country (i.e. Canada and the US). But countries with stringent food control laws had lower BMIs, like Italy, Greece and Belgium.
As The Daily Meal reported recently, government regulation of caloric intake is a complicated situation, with naysayers on both sides. Richard McCarthy from Slow Foods says that it is important for the government to start helping us make healthier choices.
“Smart government policies can support individuals and families to make changes even when they're confronted with contradictory messages from the food industry,” said McCarthy. “The sooner we can translate these results into policies that reward difficult changes in behavior for an already stressed out populace, the better.