Another moment in the history of pop epidemiology, from the folks who tell you that moviegoers are 2x more likely to die of a heart attack b/c of buttery topping:
The lead researcher, Suzanne Judd, a nutritional epidemiologist at the University of Alabama, said her study is the first large-scale effort to look at stroke and a diet of such foods as fried chicken and fish, bacon, ham and sweet teas.
“Fatty foods are high in cholesterol, sugary drinks are linked to diabetes and salty foods lead to high blood pressure,” Judd said in a statement. Those are all factors in the risk ofcardiovascular disease.
So, news flash, fatty foods are bad for you. But the definition of "Southern" and the definition of "traditional" seems a little bit, erm unscientific:
Her study involved more than 20,000 whites and African Americans age 45 and older who underwent medical assessments and answered questions about their eating habits and health in 2003 to 2007. People who ate traditional Southern diets lived in various places, but about two-thirds of them lived in the southeastern United States, Judd said.
Previous research has shown that Southerners are about 20% more likely to have a stroke than people who live in the rest of the country. Judd’s work found that stroke frequency was proportional to consumption of Southern food.
Granted, it's a newspaper article about a scientific study, not an article in a medical journal, but the science seems kind of wack, in that "Southern food," for the purposes of the study, appear to be "food we already knew is bad for you. But, you know, just to be on the safe side, lay off the okra, collards and benne wafers.
It's worth noting that the lead author of this study is at the University of Alabama, which suggests that the clumsy deployment of the notion of "Southern food" may be a function of a reluctance to consult the experts on traditional food, who are of course at Ole Miss.