advertisement
04 January 2011

Wildlife meets western diet

Processed foods may contribute to high cholesterol seen in certain species of wildlife such as foxes and racoons that are adopting an urban American diet, a new study finds.

0

Processed foods may contribute to high cholesterol seen in certain species of wildlife such as foxes and racoons that are adopting an urban American diet, a new study finds.

Because of increasing urbanisation, people and animals are living closer together and interacting more than ever before. For example, foxes, raccoons and opossums often scavenge leftovers from drive-throughs rather than hunt mice, rats, birds and other prey.

For this study, which appears in an issue of the Journal of Mammalogy, researchers analysed hair samples collected from people and endangered San Joaquin kit foxes in and around Bakersfield, Calif. They found similarities that suggest a shared food source.

Foxes living in the city had significantly higher carbon and lower nitrogen values than foxes in adjacent rural areas. The urban foxes also had higher cholesterol levels.

High carbon values indicate a diet high in corn or its derivative, corn syrup. Processed foods in North American contain large amounts of corn products and have high carbon values.

It might be assumed that foxes that eat processed foods would have a deficient diet that would lead to poorer health and development and lower rates of reproduction. But this study found that urban foxes have higher survival and birth rates than rural foxes. This may be because foxes in rural areas have a greater number of predators, said the researchers in a journal news release.

(HealthDay News, January 2011)

 
NEXT ON HEALTH24X
advertisement

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Contraceptives and you »

Scientists create new contraceptive from seaweed Poor long-term birth control training leads to 'accidents'

7 birth control myths you should stop believing

Will the Pill make you gain weight? Can you fall pregnant while breastfeeding? We bust seven common myths about birth control.

Your digestive health »

Causes of digestive disorders 9 habits that could hurt your digestive system

Your tummy rumblings might help diagnose bowel disorder

With the assistance of an 'acoustic belt', doctors can now determine the cause of your tummy troubles.