Health Advice



Golden Age at the Golden Arches

Scott LaFee on

Fast food might not be very good for you in terms of physical health, but a survey conducted of 125 older adults (ages 55-92) in the Minneapolis area found that regular visits to familiar eateries was good for their mental health, mostly because it provided a comfortable, easy-to-access place in which to socialize with others.

"Traditionally, fast food has a negative relationship with cognition -- we know that diets high in saturated fat cholesterol are associated with increased risk of cognitive decline," said lead author Jessica Finlay, a research fellow at the University of Michigan.

"It has been criticized in public health literature because it can offer unhealthy food choices. But as a geographer, I'm interested in the places themselves and what those spaces mean for the everyday lives of older adults."

Fast food joints and similar venues, such as coffee shops, provided a place to gather and interact with others, stimulating the brain. The researchers' advice: Skip the Big Mac, but enjoy the chat.

Body of Knowledge

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Get Me That, Stat!

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