Why Eat at Fast-Food Restaurants: Reported Reasons among Frequent Consumers

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Abstract

A convenience sample of adolescents and adults who regularly eat at fast-food restaurants were recruited to participate in an experimental trial to examine the effect of nutrition labeling on meal choices. As part of this study, participants were asked to indicate how strongly they agreed or disagreed with 11 statements to assess reasons for eating at fast-food restaurants. Logistic regression was conducted to examine whether responses differed by demographic factors. The most frequently reported reasons for eating at fast-food restaurants were: fast food is quick (92%), restaurants are easy to get to (80%), and food tastes good (69%). The least frequently reported reasons were: eating fast food is a way of socializing with family and friends (33%), restaurants have nutritious foods to offer (21%), and restaurants are fun and entertaining (12%). Some differences were found with respect to the demographic factors examined. It appears that in order to reduce fast-food consumption, food and nutrition professionals need to identify alternative quick and convenient food sources. As motivation for eating at fast-food restaurants appears to differ somewhat by age, sex, education, employment status, and household size, tailored interventions could be considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2066-2070
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Dietetic Association
Volume108
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (DK067599).

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