Submitted to: Journal of American College of Nutrition
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 30, 2003
Publication Date: April 1, 2004
Citation: Bowman, S.A., Vinyard, B.T. 2004. Fast food consumers vs non-fast food consumers: a comparison of their energy intakes, diet quality, and overweight status. Journal Of American College Of Nutrition. v. 23(2). p. 163-168. Interpretive Summary: The number of fast food places have increased by several fold, and more people eat in fast food places today than three decades ago. Fast food places are one of the popular sources of away-from-home foods. Fast food is quick, convenient, relatively inexpensive for the amount of food obtained, and appeal to all age groups. This study compares the diet quality of adults based on their fast food consumption status and examines association between fast food consumption and overweight status. Dietary intake data from the CSFII 1994-1996 was used for the study. Fast food was consumed by both genders and all age, income, races-ethnic, and demographic groups. Young adults, ages 20 to 29 years, were about 4 times more likely to eat fast food than adults 55 years of age and older. Fast food eaters had higher intakes of energy, total fat, saturated fat, carbohydrate, added sugars, and protein than their counterparts who did not eat fast food. They consumed low amounts of nutritious foods such as fruits and non-starchy vegetables, and drank a large amount of non-diet carbonated soft drinks. Fast food eaters had a slightly higher and statistically significant odds of being overweight than those who did not report eating fast food. Because of the high prevalence of obesity, consumers of fast food should pay attention to portion sizes of food and beverages. They should choose water or beverages that are low in calories. These findings are useful to adults who frequent fast food places, dietitians who provide nutritional counsel to overweight and obese adults, and to the fast food industry so that they may include nutritious foods in their menu.
Technical Abstract: This study compares the diet quality of adults based on their fast food consumption status and examines association between fast food consumption and overweight status. Dietary intake data from the CSFII 1994-1996 was used for the study. Adults 20 years of age and older who had complete dietary intake records for day-1 of the survey were included in the study. They were grouped based on whether they ate fast food or not, on day-1 of the survey. Fast food¿s contribution to day¿s total energy, macronutrients, milk, non-diet carbonated beverages, fruits, and non-starchy vegetables intakes were estimated for males and females separately. Two means were considered different at a probability level less than 0.01. Regression analyses were conducted to determine fast food consumption status of socio-economic and demographic groups, and to estimate mean energy, energy density, macronutrients, selected micronutrients density, and food groups by fast food consumption status after controlling for age, gender, socio-economic, and demographic variables. Multiple logistic regression analyses were conducted to estimate the odds of being overweight, odds of not meeting Institute of Medicine¿s (IOM) recommendation for total fat, saturated fat and added sugars intakes. Day-1 full sample weights and design effects were included in the analyses to represent the population under study. Among the 9,872 adults (47.9 percent males and 52.1 percent females) in the study, 26.5 percent reported eating fast food on day-1 of the survey. Fast food was consumed by both genders and all age, income, races-ethnic, and demographic groups. Young adults, males, adults living in higher income households, living in suburban areas, or living in the Midwest or in the South were more likely to be fast food eaters. Both males and females who reported eating fast food had substantially higher intakes of energy, total fat, saturated fat, carbohydrate, added sugars, and protein than their counterparts who did not eat fast food. They consumed lower amounts of antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin A, carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E per 1,000 kilocalories of energy intake. Their calcium, magnesium, and zinc intakes per 1,000 kilocalories of total energy intake were also lower than that of non-fast-food eaters. After adjusting for age, gender, socio-economic and demographic factors, eating fast food was positively associated with being overweight, and/or not meeting one or more of the recommendations for total fat, saturated fat, and added sugars.