Barriers to avoiding fast-food consumption in an environment supportive of unhealthy eating

Lukar E. Thornton, Robert W. Jeffery, David A. Crawford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objective: To investigate factors (ability, motivation and the environment) that act as barriers to limiting fast-food consumption in women who live in an environment that is supportive of poor eating habits.

Design: Cross-sectional study using self-reports of individual-level data and objectively measured environmental data. Multilevel logistic regression was used to assess factors associated with frequency of fast-food consumption.

Setting: Socio-economically disadvantaged areas in metropolitan Melbourne, Australia.

Subjects: Women (n 932) from thirty-two socio-economically disadvantaged neighbourhoods living within 3 km of six or more fast-food restaurants. Women were randomly sampled in 2007-2008 as part of baseline data collection for the Resilience for Eating and Activity Despite Inequality (READI) study.

Results: Consuming low amounts of fast food was less likely in women with lower perceived ability to shop for and cook healthy foods, lower frequency of family dining, lower family support for healthy eating, more women acquaintances who eat fast food regularly and who lived further from the nearest supermarket. When modelled with the other significant factors, a lower perceived shopping ability, mid levels of family support and living further from the nearest supermarket remained significant. Among those who did not perceive fruits and vegetables to be of high quality, less frequent fast-food consumption was further reduced for those with the lowest confidence in their shopping ability.

Conclusions: Interventions designed to improve women's ability and opportunities to shop for healthy foods may be of value in making those who live in high-risk environments better able to eat healthily.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2105-2113
Number of pages9
JournalPublic health nutrition
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2012 The Authors.


  • Fast food
  • Food environment
  • Socio-economic disadvantage


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