Poster Topical Area: Nutritional Epidemiology

Location: Hall D

Poster Board Number: 806

P20-118 - Americans’ perceptions about fast food and how they may affect fast food consumption and obesity risk

Monday, Jun 11
8:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Objective: Systematically examine Americans’ perceptions of fast food and how these perceptions might affect fast food consumption and obesity risk.

Methods: We searched PubMed and google for studies published in English until February 17, 2017 that reported on Americans’ perceptions (defined as their beliefs, attitudes, and knowledge) regarding fast food as well as those on their associations with fast food consumption and obesity risk. Thirteen articles met inclusion criteria.

Results: Limited research has been conducted on these topics; and most studies were based on convenience samples. In general, one-fifth of Americans thought fast food was good for health, while two-thirds considered fast food was not good, including 73% of weekly fast food consumers. Americans do not demonstrate high knowledge of calories in fast food (e.g., 15% correctly estimated fast food calories). The associations between fast food perceptions and fast food consumption were significant. Americans were likely to purchase more fast food when they valued convenience (e.g., likelihood of weekly consumption of fast food, OR=1.2 [1.1-1.2] vs. not perceived) and taste of fast food (e.g., more frequent consumption of fast food with having taste barriers to health eating, OR=1.3 [1.1-1.4] per 1 SD change), and found more fun and socializing opportunities in fast food restaurants than other eating places. Those who consumed less fast food seemed more likely to view fast food negatively (e.g., 43% of those who ate fast food a few times per year vs. 19% of those who ate fast food at least weekly reported fast food as ‘not good at all’). Available research indicates neither perceived availability of fast food nor Geographical Information System (GIS) based fast food presence in the neighborhood had significant associations with weekly fast food consumption. No studies examined the association between fast food perceptions and obesity risk.

Conclusions: Americans’ perceptions of fast food and how they might affect fast food consumption and obesity risk are understudied. Considerable variation was observed in Americans’ perceptions and consumption of fast food. Perceptions of fast food seem to affect fast food consumption.



Funding Source:

The study is funded in part by a research grant from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH, U54HD070725, 1R01HD064685-01A1), US Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (3062-51000-051-00D) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Mission X program.

CoAuthors: Lisa Jahns – USDA; Hong Xue – Virginia Commonwealth University; Jayanthi Kandiah – Ball State University; Youfa Wang – Ball State University

Jungwon Min


Ball State University
Fishers, Indiana