But correlation is not causality at all. I get to the second to last paragraph where a restaurant industry trade group is slamming the study. This study is "seriously flawed," they say, the study shows "no correlation whatsoever between dining at chain restaurants and incidence of stroke." Um, okay, nor did it show a causal relationship between eating your food and having a stroke, but that doesn't make the study flawed. It just says there's a statistical relationship between the number of fast food places in the neighborhood and the incidence of stroke. Don't you want to know why? I do. And this opens up avenues for so much exploration of why, so why get your panties in a bunch over it? It could turn out to have nothing to do with fast food. Unless of course you already have other studies showing the relationship between dining at fast food restaurants and risk of stroke (or heart disease, or something else), and you don't want anyone going and poking their nose in there to look more closely. Or maybe you already have a study about the smoke coming off your grills and deep fryers? I don't know, but your reaction makes me suspicious.
Meanwhile, will we start seeing realtors producing neighborhood maps showing the incidence of fast food restaurants in the neighborhood the way we do now with little maps of schools and their test scores? That could go both ways actually, because I suspect some people love their MickyD's enough to select a neighborhood based on how easy it is to get a Happy Meal on the way home. Also ironic, their definition of what makes a place have a lot of fast food means that Berkeley, haven to granola-eating hippies and foodies, has one of the higher incidences of fast food restaurants around, though I defy you to find a Burger King or Carl's Jr. in the city limits.