Skip Nav

Fast Food Essay

Sources Used in Document:

❶These revenues may in turn be supplemented by on-site school stores and pouring contracts with beverage companies.

Food choices

Obesity and calorie intake

Of respondents who were aware that nutritional information was available, most reported having read it, and of those who had read it, approximately one-third said that they used this information when ordering always or most of the time.

However, in response to a hypothetical question, most said they would be very or somewhat likely to order "healthier" food items when available. The prevalence of obesity increased consistently with frequency of fast-food consumption Table 3. After adjusting for potential confounding demographic, socioeconomic, and health-related variables, the odds of being obese were even higher.

Studies reported in the literature agree that fast food is consumed frequently in the United States and that prevalence of fast food consumption is increasing; however, direct comparisons with our results are difficult because studies have varied by year, population, method of data collection, and question structure.

We found a strong association between fast-food consumption and obesity prevalence among respondents. In addition, both studies used self-reported body weight and height to calculate BMI, and the known measurement error associated with these self-reported measures may have also contributed to this inconsistency. Similar to what has been reported in the literature 12 , 13 , 20 , we found regular fast-food consumption to be consistently associated with age and sex in both the bivariate and multivariate analyses.

Younger adults and men showed higher prevalence of regular fast-food consumption. However, after accounting for age and sex, we found no other demographic associations with regular fast-food consumption. Paul, Minnesota, metropolitan area.

Limited time, good taste, eating with friends and family, and cost were the most prevalent reasons among a sample of college students from a large Midwestern university Using a population-based sample of adults in Minnesota, Dave et al 20 found that perceived convenience of fast food and a dislike of cooking were significantly related to frequency of fast-food consumption; however, perceived healthfulness of fast food was not related to its consumption.

Our results and those of others suggest that future, more detailed investigations into the reasons people frequent fast-food restaurants and how these reasons may vary among demographic subpopulations could contribute to public health practice by suggesting viable alternatives to fast foods. The major strength of this study is that it provides unique population-based estimates of fast-food consumption specifically among Michigan adults and confirms that in Michigan, similar to the United States and a few other states for which data are available, food from fast-food restaurants contributes significantly to the population's dietary intake.

Because the conclusions from this study are based on statistical associations, we are confident that any sources of bias that may be present will not result in a change in these findings. Lastly, our results should be interpreted with caution because of the correlational nature of the associations and because of the limits in identifying all potential confounders in the survey. Making nutritional information more readily available and easy to use, including providing easy-to-read calorie labels on menus and menu boards at fast-food restaurants, may be a way to help consumers who are already inclined to use nutritional information when ordering.

This publication was supported by cooperative agreement no. The next questions are about eating out. How often do you usually go to a fast-food restaurant? When you go to a fast-food restaurant, what is the main reason you choose this type of a restaurant instead of another type?

When you go to a fast-food restaurant, do you usually eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack? When you go to a fast-food restaurant do you usually order a meal package or individual items? When you go to a fast-food restaurant. Sometimes fast-food restaurants have information available about the nutritional contents of their foods. Is this type of nutritional information available at the fast-food restaurants you usually go to?

How often does this nutritional information help you decide what to order? Some fast-food restaurants are including healthier items on their menu. On a usual basis, how likely are you to order healthier food items? Would you say that you are. The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Suggested citation for this article: Fast-food consumption and obesity among Michigan adults.

Prev Chronic Dis ;8 4 http: Accessed [ date ]. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List Prev Chronic Dis v. Rafferty was affiliated with the Michigan Department of Community Health during data analysis and initial drafting Find articles by Ann P.

This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Introduction Consumption of meals eaten away from home, especially from fast-food restaurants, has increased in the United States since the s. Methods We analyzed data from 12 questions about fast-food consumption that were included on the Michigan Behavioral Risk Factor Survey, a population-based telephone survey of Michigan adults, using univariate and bivariate analyses and multivariate logistic regression, and compared these data with data on Michigan obesity prevalence.

Conclusion The prevalence of fast-food consumption is high in Michigan across education, income, and racial groups and is strongly associated with obesity. Introduction The prevalence of obesity in the United States has increased dramatically during the past few decades and is now a major public health concern 1.

Open in a separate window. If respondent mentions more than one reason, probe with " What is the main reason you usually choose a fast-food restaurant? If respondent gives multiple responses, probe with " With whom do you go most often? Footnotes The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Surgeon General's call to action to prevent and decrease overweight and obesity. Office of the Surgeon General; Michigan BRFS annual tables. Michigan Department of Health; Secular trends in patterns of self-reported food consumption of adult Americans: Am J Clin Nutr. US per capita food supply trends: Food Rev ; 25 3: Obesity and the regulation of energy balance.

Away-from-home foods increasingly important to quality of American diet. Economic Research Service; Role of food prepared away from home in the American diet, versus J Nutr Educ Behav.

The demand for food away from home: Agricultural Economic Report No. US Department of Agriculture; Portion sizes and the obesity epidemic. Fast foods, energy density and obesity: The tests are not reported in the table. Height should clearly be unrelated. And indeed, the coefficients are essentially zero and insignificant Table 8. Because BMI and obesity in kindergarten is measured prior to exposure to junk foods in school, any effects would suggest unobserved heterogeneity. Results for BMI and obesity measured in first and third grade likewise confirm insignificant effects of junk food availability during fifth grade Table 9 , Panels B and C.

However, because our data do not contain information on junk food availability prior to 5 th grade, these results are also consistent with the absence of junk foods in earlier grades. The consistent lack of significant findings for BMI and obesity raises questions regarding how the energy balance equation is affected by junk food availability. As a result, they are subject to measurement error and consequently produce noisier estimates particularly for the IV models.

Nevertheless, they represent our best opportunity for understanding important mechanisms underlying our null finding. Therefore, for the in-school junk food purchases, total consumption, and physical activity analyses, we focus mainly on the reduced form results though we provide OLS results for comparison.

One potential explanation for our null findings for BMI and obesity may be that availability does not impact overall food consumption.

This may happen for several different reasons. First, young children may not purchase significant amounts of junk food in school either due to limited access to such foods or fewer discretionary resources to purchase them. Second, children may not change their total consumption of junk food because junk food purchased in school simply substitutes for junk food brought from home. Or third, children may not change their overall consumption during the day, but simply substitute between junk food consumed in-school and out-of-school.

Unfortunately, we cannot completely separate out these possible explanations because the ECLS-K does not provide us with full information about the daily dietary intake of each child. However, we do have information about in-school purchases of foods with sugar, salty snacks, and sweetened beverages for those children with in-school availability. We also have total in-school plus out-of-school consumption of soda, fast food, and a variety of healthy foods for all children in the sample.

While not definitive, we can use this information to gain some insight into underlying eating behaviors and lend support for our BMI and obesity findings. Not surprisingly, our analysis of in-school consumption of junk foods does confirm that children purchase junk food when it is available.

And the reduced form estimates show that children in combined schools are between 5 and 9 percentage points more likely to purchase junk foods compared to those in elementary schools Table 10 , Panel B. Dependent variables in columns 1 — 3 are dichotomous and capture whether any purchase of that item was made in school during the last week.

All regressions include the full set of covariates. To provide a sense of the caloric contribution of these purchases, we multiplied the increase in the probability of purchase from attending a combined school by the median number of times that food was purchased among children who purchased at least once, by the number of the calories per unit. The caloric contribution of in-school purchases is much higher calories per week or 62 calories per day for the median child among children who purchase these foods as opposed to merely having them available.

But even the 62 calories per day represents less than a quarter 23 percent of the daily discretionary calorie allowance calories for a moderately active fifth grader.

It is possible that children substitute in-school purchases for snacks brought from home or eaten at home either due to satiation or parental monitoring.

With our simple dietary recall measures, we cannot explicitly test the nature of potential substitution. We can, however, examine the total intake of soda and fast food consumed in and out of school. Soda is of particular interest because it is the only item for which children were asked about both their in-school and total consumption separately. Fast food, on the other hand, does not correspond exactly to the in-school snack food consumption categories.

The fact that children who consume soda and other junk food in schools show no evidence of an increase in total consumption provides support for the substitution hypothesis. This finding is also consistent with the literature, which indicates that only 27 percent of soda and sweetened drinks consumed in elementary schools are bought at school compared to 67 percent brought from home Briefel et al Dependent variable captures the number of times the food or beverage item was consumed during the last 7 days.

While BMI is a widely-used outcome measure, it does not capture nutritional changes. Just because children are not gaining weight does not mean that their diets are not adversely affected by junk food availability. If children are consuming junk food in lieu of healthy foods, there may still be concerns about their nutrition.

Columns 3 through 8 of Table 11 examine whether children with in-school availability of junk foods consume less milk, green salad, carrots, potatoes, other vegetables, and fruit.

The OLS results show no significant associations with junk food availability. Moreover, reduced form regressions also show that combined school attendance does not significantly impact total consumption of the healthy foods.

The absence of any effects of junk food availability on BMI despite the in-school purchases of junk food also raises questions regarding potential compensatory changes in the availability of and participation in physical activity. For example, revenues from junk food sales may be used to fund playgrounds or pay for physical education instructors.

Or it may be that combined schools simply offer more opportunities for physical activity due to their scale and organization relative to elementary schools. If physical activity is greater, then we may find no change in BMI or obesity despite an increase in caloric intake. OLS and reduced form estimates for school- and parent-reported physical activity measures are reported in Table OLS estimates show no relationship between junk food availability and minutes per week of physical education at school, minutes per week of recess at school, and parent-reported participation in physical activity measured as the number of days per week that the child engaged in exercise that causes rapid heart beat for 20 continuous minutes or more.

The reduced form regressions show no significant effects of combined school attendance on minutes per week of physical education instruction. Children attending combined school have fewer minutes of recess Table 12 , Column 2 , but slightly higher days of parent-reported physical activity Table 12 , Column 3 though neither finding is statistically significant at.

Overall, the regressions do not provide consistent evidence that increased energy expenditure explains the null finding for BMI and obesity. All models include the full set of covariates as well as the baseline kindergarten measure of the dependent variable. Junk food availability is a prominent issue for middle and high schools in the U. In this paper, we examined whether junk food availability increased BMI and obesity among a national sample of 5th graders.

Those 5th graders who attend a combined school are much more likely to have junk food availability relative to those in elementary school. Likewise, the IV and reduced form models, which are not subject to the potential bias undermining OLS models, confirm the null findings for BMI and obesity. These results are not sensitive to various robustness checks including alternate measures of junk food availability and sample restrictions. Finally, we provide further support for the null findings by examining in-school and overall food consumption patterns as well as physical activity.

The null effects on BMI and obesity cannot be explained entirely by limited access or limited discretionary resources among young children because 5 th graders do purchase junk food when it is available in schools. However, our results suggest that the caloric contribution of in-school purchases is likely to be small. Moreover, we find no evidence of significant changes in the overall frequency of consumption of soda and fast food, which is consistent with children substituting in-school purchases of junk food for that taken from or eaten at home.

Our findings may have implications in the current economic environment. Half of the states are projecting budget shortfalls that threaten staffing, compensation, extracurricular activities, and policy initiatives such as mandated limits on class size.

In light of our findings, certain policy measures, such as outright bans on junk food sales at least among elementary school children , might appear premature given that they remove a key source of discretionary funds.

While our results are robust, we caution that we could not consider the full range of consequences of junk food availability. Not only are the dietary intake measures in the ECLS-K limited, but we are also not able to examine whether related health outcomes such as diet quality or dental caries are influenced by junk food availability. Also, we are unable to examine the generalizability of our findings to older children who may have greater junk food access and intake both in and outside school.

Additional research is necessary to fully understand the potential consequences before costly legislation is implemented. Such research might also consider the consequences of junk food regulations on school finances and the extent to which these financial consequences could be mitigated by the sale of more nutritious alternatives or through alternative financing mechanisms. All opinions are those of the authors and do not represent opinions of the funding agencies.

Using the same data, Kubik et al show that using competitive foods as rewards and incentives is positively associated with BMI. Similar to the ECLS-K, eighty percent of elementary school children reported no competitive food purchases. Among children who made a purchase, the median daily caloric intake from these foods was calories. We include both the low- and high-fat options in our measure, however, in sensitivity analyses, we used only the high-fat versions to construct our school-administrator based measure of junk food availability and found results to be similar.

We prefer this measure over the simple dichotomy of having any unregulated competitive food outlets because the outlet-based measure does not differentiate the type of foods sold e. We also prefer it over the child-report because children who do not consume junk foods are less likely to accurately report availability and because children reported only the availability of any sweets, salty snacks, or sweetened beverages, but did not differentiate specific items e.

There were slight differences for some of the covariates. However, there was no overall pattern in the socioeconomic factors that would threaten the validity of the IV approach: For example, in our sample, elementary school students are more likely to be Hispanic and Asian while combined school students are more likely to be white.

There are no differences in the share that are Black. Similarly, there is no consistent pattern in maternal education. Elementary school students are more likely to have poorly and highly educated mothers less than high school, more than Bachelors. We were able to identify statistically significant peer effects on social-behavioral outcomes but not test scores , which suggests that lack of power is an unlikely explanation for the finding of null peer effects on BMI and related outcomes.

In these over-identified models, both instruments had a strong positive association with junk food availability i. This approach yielded qualitatively similar results as the exactly-identified models available upon request. The point estimates, first-stage F-statistics, and Hausman tests yield similar results available upon request. Estimates from binary treatment effect IV models confirm that the effects of junk food availability on BMI are neither substantive nor significant available upon request.

First, given that we do not know the exposure to junk food in previous grades and given concerns that genetic susceptibility may not have a constant proportional effect on BMI at every point in the life cycle, we controlled for 1 st or 3 rd grade BMI instead of BMI in Kindergarten and obtained similar results.

Second, inclusion of controls for school meal participation did not change our findings. Third, we used BMI z-scores as the dependent variable to accurately control for age and gender influences on BMI and obtained qualitatively similar results. Fourth, we estimated quantile regressions to test whether the effects of junk food availability varied across the BMI distribution, but found no evidence for heterogeneous effects.

Finally, we also re-estimated our BMI and obesity models separately for each gender. The results for junk food availability mirrored those for the full sample. Restricting the sample to those boys and girls attending schools without junk food availability, the coefficients from the reduced form were nearly identical to those based on the full sample of boys and girls, which suggests that peer effects are not an issue even when regressions are gender-specific.

The IV coefficients are never significant in part due to the larger standard errors in the regressions of reported eating behaviors and physical activity. We assume that salty snacks add calories typical calories from a bag of potato chips , sweets add calories typically calories from a candy bar , and soda adds calories.

Given the limitations of the consumption data in the ECLS-K, we caution the reader to treat these caloric intake calculations as approximations. According to Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the discretionary allowance for a calorie diet is calories. Results available upon request.

National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. J Policy Anal Manage. Author manuscript; available in PMC May Ashlesha Datar and Nancy Nicosia. See other articles in PMC that cite the published article. Abstract Despite limited empirical evidence, there is growing concern that junk food availability in schools has contributed to the childhood obesity epidemic.

Junk food, Competitive foods, Obesity. Introduction The prevalence of childhood obesity in the US is at an all-time high with nearly one-third of all children and adolescents now considered overweight or obese Ogden et al Variable Mean BMI Less than high school 0.

Open in a separate window. Junk Food Purchase in School The food consumption questionnaire collected information on in-school junk food purchase during the fifth grade. Did not buy any at school during the last week Did not consume during the past 7 days Total Consumption of Selected Foods and Beverages The child food consumption questionnaire asked about the frequency of overall consumption of specific food items during the past week.

Junk Food Availability Detailed information on junk food availability in schools was collected from the school administrators and from children in the fifth grade. Addressing Endogeneity of Junk Food Availability in Schools We address the potential endogeneity of junk food availability using instrumental variables.

Instrument Our sample consists of a single cohort of 5 th graders attending schools with a variety of grade spans. Junk Food Availability Combined school attendance 0.

Results We now turn to our main results, which examine the effects of junk food availability on BMI and other outcomes. Sensitivity and Falsification Checks We conducted a number of sensitivity analyses to test the robustness of our findings. Effects of Junk Food Availability on Food Consumption and Physical Activity The consistent lack of significant findings for BMI and obesity raises questions regarding how the energy balance equation is affected by junk food availability.

Physical Activity The absence of any effects of junk food availability on BMI despite the in-school purchases of junk food also raises questions regarding potential compensatory changes in the availability of and participation in physical activity. Conclusion Junk food availability is a prominent issue for middle and high schools in the U.

Footnotes 1 Other studies have examined the effects of price reductions, increases in availability, and promotion of low-fat foods in secondary schools on sales and purchases of these foods French et al , , a , b , Jeffery et al as well as their consumption Perry et al within experimental settings and found positive effects.

Reading, Writing, and Refreshments: Journal of Human Resources. Are Restaurants Really Supersizing America? Angrist J, Krueger A. Instrumental Variables and the Search for Identification: From Supply and Demand to Natural Experiments. Journal of Economic Perspectives. Bedard K, Do C. Are Middle Schools More Effective? Senate drops measure to greatly reduce sugar and fat in food at schools.

Patterns of childhood obesity prevention legislation in the United States. School food environments and practices affect dietary behaviors of US public school children.

Journal of the American Dietetic Association. The Company You Keep: National Bureau of Economic Research Working paper. Chernozhukov V, Hansen C. Clark C, Folk J. Georgia College and State University; Evidence from the Sixth Grade Experiment. Clark AE, Loheac Y. Journal of Health Economics. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

American Journal of Sociology. Journal of American Dietetic Association. Am J Public Health. Child-reported family and peer influences on fruit, juice and vegetable consumption: University of Michigan; Peer Effects for Adolescent Substance Use: Do They Really Exist?

Measuring Peer Group Effects: A Study of Teenage Behavior. Journal of Political Economy. School food environments and policies in US public schools. An environmental intervention to promote lower fat food choices in secondary schools: American Journal of Public Health. Pricing and promotion effects on low-fat vending snack purchases: A pricing strategy to promote low-fat snack choices through vending machines. Pricing strategy to promote fruit and vegetable purchase in high school cafeterias.

J Am Diet Assoc. Gaviria A, Raphael S. Review of Economics and Statistics. Crime and Social Interactions. Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Student Participation and Dietary Intakes. Gresham F, Elliott S. Social skills rating system. American Guidance Service; Does peer ability affect student achievement? Journal of Applied Econometrics. Availability of a la carte food items in junior and senior high schools: Health in the Balance.

National Academies Press; Nutrition Standards For Foods in Schools:

How to cite this page

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

Fast Food and Obesity Essay. easy availability of fast food promotes obesity in America because the easy availability of fast food affects Americans’ food choices. This might be a sign that fast, cheap, and easy may not always be the best choice. Related Posts. Obesity Essay; Fast Food Essay; Childhood Obesity Research Essay;.

Privacy FAQs

The Effect of Fast Food Restaurants on Obesity and Weight Gain Janet Currie, Stefano DellaVigna, Enrico Moretti, and Vikram Pathania NBER Working Paper No.

About Our Ads

In this research essay, I will attempt to establish a connection between fast-food and the growing rate of obesity in America. Fast - food is now served at restaurants and public establishments such as Zoos, Airports, and Stadiums, and in ways, it has infiltrated the entire nation by way of heavy advertising and economic expansion. A research paper about Obesity in the United States. Explore. Explore Scribd Obesity Research Paper. Uploaded by Paige-Hill. Related Interests. Dieting; speed and convenience fit Americans’ pressured lifestyles. It does not fit, however, to our health and wellness. A fast food meal, such as a Burger King Double Whopper with cheese /5(9).

Cookie Info

FAST FOOD AND OBESITY essays In the past, people in the United States used to eat healthy and used to eat freshly prepared food and meals with their families. Today, many young people prefer to eat fast food such as high fat hamburgers, high-carbohydrate French-fries, fried chicken, or pizz. FAST FOOD RESTAURANT AND OBESITY 3 A recent review of literature on the relationship between the fast food restaurants and obesity revealed findings from the observational studies are unable to demonstrate a causal link between fast food consumption and obesity or weight gain (Rosenheck, ).