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why do people go to fast food restaurants

Dec. 2, 2008 -- Fast food lives up to its name in a new study of people who frequently eat at fast-food restaurants. Nearly 600 adults and in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area were interviewed for the study in 2005-2006. Most reported eating fast food at least three times per week. After tucking into a meal at a fast-food restaurant, participants rated how strongly they agreed or disagreed with 11 statements about why they like fast food. Here are their top reasons for eating fast-food meals, according to the percentages of people who agreed with each statement:
They're quick: 92. 3% They're easy to get to: 80. 1% I like the taste of fast food: 69. 2% They're inexpensive: 63. 6% I'm too busy to cook: 53. 2% It's a "treat" for myself: 50. 1% I don't like to prepare foods myself: 44. 3% My friends/family like them: 41. 8% It is a way of socializing with friends and family: 33. 1% They have many nutritious foods to offer: 20. 6% They're fun and entertaining: 11. 7% The "I'm too busy to cook" line was more popular among people with college degrees than people with less education.

And young adults were less likely than older adults to say they ate fast food because it offered many nutritious choices.

Still, the results boil down to speed and convenience at one end of the spectrum, and and fun at the other end. Bridging that gap means coming up with speedy, nutritious alternatives, suggest the researchers, who included Sarah Rydell, MPH, of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. Their findings appear in December's edition of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. В 2008 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved. 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.

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