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Attitude Towards Fast Food Consumption Among Students in a Private Nigerian University by Gender, Academic Level, and Marital Status

Journal of Research in Medical and Dental Science
eISSN No. 2347-2367 pISSN No. 2347-2545

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Research - (2020) Volume 8, Issue 3

Attitude Towards Fast Food Consumption Among Students in a Private Nigerian University by Gender, Academic Level, and Marital Status

Omolola Atanda1 and Senol Dane2*

*Correspondence: Senol Dane, Department of Physiology, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Nile University of Nigeria, Nigeria, Email:

Author info »

Abstract

Introduction: There are strong positive relations between fast food consumption and worse health conditions such as obesity, diabetes mellitus, and hypertension. In the present study, attitudes of students in a private Nigerian university by gender, academic level, marital status towards fast food consumption were investigated.

Method: A total of 322 Nigerian university students were involved in the study. Participants were 145 men and 177 women who were 16-18 years of age. An online survey (questionnaire) was created and shared only with participants to get their demographic features and attitudes towards fast food consumption.

Results: The percentage of participants having fast food consumption daily is 67%. Men prefer to eat fast food every day, but women prefer it a few times a week or about once a week. The most reasons for fast food consumption were ‘convenience’ (26%), ‘variety of options’ (32%), and ‘limited time/no access to cooking’ (19%). Men reported ‘convenience’ and ‘taste’ as a reason for their fast food consumption preference, but women reported ‘variety of options’, ‘convenience’, and ‘limited time/no access to cooking’. Singles prefer to eat fast food every day, but the married participants prefer it a few times a week or about once a week.

Conclusion: There is an increase in the incidence of fast food consumption in Nigerian university students. It can be predicted that this trend will cause a high prevalence of obesity, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus in adulthood period and gestational diabetes mellitus in their children. Therefore, students, especially men and single ones, should be educated on the negative effects of fastfood consumption.

Keywords

Fast food, Fast food consumption, Obesity, Diabetes mellitus

Introduction

Fast food is food such as hamburgers, sausages, and pizza that can be served ready to eat fast. Fast food and junk food are often used synonyms. The junk food includes high energy with high sugar, fat, and salt content, but low nutrient with low protein, fiber, vitamin, and mineral content. Fast food can be defined as the food prepared before or prepared rapidly and obtained from self-service venues without waiting for more time [1]. The number of women working is going up because of changes in the family structure and urbanization in all countries in last years. The studying time of university students has increased due to their increased projects and assignments. Therefore, the amount of fast food industries and the number of fast food restaurants is increasing in recent years [2]. Consequently, the prevalence of obesity and diabetes mellitus in adolescents and adults [1] and the increased risk of gestational diabetes in their children is increasing worldwide [3-5]. There are a lot of studies reported the strong positive relations between the availability of fast food and the quantity of fast food consumption and, also, between fast food consumption and worse health conditions [6-8].

The feeding from fast food restaurants among university students has increased fivefold over the past three decades [9]. Besides, the rate of obesity, which is one of the most serious public health problems in especially children and adolescents, is increasing worldwide significantly [10]. The reasons for increased fast food consumption are availability, affordable costs, menu choices, flavor, and taste [11]. About 30% of children and more than 50% of university students have fast food consumption daily [6,9]. Moreover, more than 33% of adults and 17% of children and teenagers are obese in the USA [12]. Increased food consumption and considerable changes in food habits are the most important factors of obesity [13] and the poor diet among young people at recent years [14]. In the present study, attitudes of students in a private Nigerian university concerning their gender, academic level, marital status towards fast food consumption were investigated.

Methods

Participants

To get their demographic features and attitudes towards fast food consumption, an online survey (questionnaire) was created and shared only with participants, all students of the Nile University of Nigeria. To keep the confidentiality and privacy of the survey, a secured internet link for the survey was produced and shared only with all students of Nile university to fill out. A total of 322 university students participated in this survey (177 women, mean age=18.213, SD=5.274; 145 men, mean age=17.341, SD=5.279) voluntarily. All subjects completed the study voluntarily. The numbers of students concerning their academic levels were 156 from 100 level (the first year of education), 72 from 200 level (the second year of education), 59 from level 300 (the third year of education) and 35 from 400 level (the fourth year of education). The age of the participants was not different statistically by gender.

Inclusion criteria

Willingness to participate. Only university students could participate. Only undergraduate students studying were included in the study.

Exclusion criteria

The study excluded participants that were not willing to be involved.

Subjects with psychiatric or neurological problems that might change their fast food consumption were not involved.

Procedure

The experimental protocol was by following international ethical standards. The study was performed per under the Helsinki Declaration (1975, revised in 1996-2013) [15]. It was a descriptive cross-sectional study. The aims and objectives of the study were explicitly explained to the participants before the commencement of the study. All participants voluntarily gave written informed consent to participate in the study.

Statistical analyses

Measured values are given as a mean +/- standard deviation (SD). Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS for Windows version 18. The ‘crosstabs’ descriptive statistics (chi-square test) to get gender, marital status, and academic level related differences were used. A p-value of less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

Results

Table 1 shows sociodemographic features of the participants.

Gender     Male: 145 (45%) Female: 177 (55%)
Age (years) ≤ 18: 72 (22%) 19-21: 137 (43%) 22-24: 96‎ (30%) ≥ 25: 17 (5%)‎
Marital Status     ‎Single=288 (89%)‎ Married=34 (11%)
Level 100: 54 (17%) 200: 186 (58%) 300: 55 (17%) ‎400: 27 (8%)‎

Table 1: Sociodemographic features of the participants.

Of all participants, 217 (67%) consume it every day, 56 (17%) a few times a week, 39 12%) about once a week, 5 a few times a month, 3 once a month, and 2 less than once a week. There is a statistically significant gender difference in terms of the frequency of fast food consumption (chi-square=69.741, p=0.00), men prefer to eat fast food every day, but women prefer it a few times a week or about once a week (Table 2).

How often you consume fast food Men (N=145) Women (N=177) Total (N=322)
Every day 132 (61%) 85 (39%) 217 (67%)
A few times a week 11 (20%) 45 (80%) 56 (17%)
About once a week 2 (5%) 37 (95%) 39 (12%)
A few times a month 0 5 (100%) 5 (2%)
Once a month 0 3 (100%) 3 (1%)
Less than once a month 0 2 (100%) 2 (1%)

Table 2: The frequency of fast food consumption by gender.

Of all participants, 83 (%6%) reported the ‘convenience’ as a reason for fast food preference, 24 (7.5%) ‘taste’, 9 (3%) ‘price’, 102 (32%) ‘variety of options’, 16 (5%) ‘location’, 19 (6%) ‘as treat’, 8 (2.5%) ‘limited cooking skills’, 61 (19%) ‘limited time/no access to cooking’. There is a statistically significant gender difference in terms of the causes of fast food consumption (chi-square=106.788, p=0.00), men report ‘convenience’ and ‘taste’ as a reason for their fast food consumption preference, but women report ‘variety of options’, ‘convenience’ and ‘limited time/no access to cooking’ (Table 3).

Reasons for fast food consumption Men (N=145) Women (N=177) Total (N=322)
Convenience 61 (73.5%) 22 (26.5%) 83 (26%)
Taste 17 (71%) 7 (29%) 24 (7.5%)
Price 2 (22%) 7 (78%) 9 (3%)
Variety of options 8 (8%) 94 (92%) 102 (32%)
Location 5 (31%) 11 (69%) 16 (5%)
As treat 11 (58%) 8 (42%) 19 (6%)
Limited cooking skills 8 (100%) 0 8 (2.5%)
Limited time/no access to cooking 33 (54%) 28 (46%) 61 (19%)

Table 3: Reasons for fast food consumption by gender.

There was no statistically significant academic level difference in terms of the frequency of fast food consumption (Table 4).

How often you consume fast food Academic level
100 (N=156) 200 (N=72) 300 (N=59) 400 (N=35)
Everyday 115 (53%) 47 (22%) 36 (16%) 19 (9%)
A few times a week 22 (39%) 13 (23%) 9 (16%) 12 (22%)
About once a week 19 (49%) 10 (26%) 8 (20%) 2 (5%)
A few times a month 0 2 (40%) 3 (60%) 0
Once a month 0 0 3 (100%) 0
Less than once a month 0 0 0 2 (100%)

Table 4: The frequency of fast food consumption by academic level.

There is a statistically significant the marital status difference in terms of the frequency of fast food consumption (chi-square=120.481, p=0.00), single participants prefer to eat fast food every day, but the married participants prefer it a few times a week or about once a week (Table 5).

How often you consume fast food Single (N=288) Married (N=34)
Everyday 217 (100%) 0
A few times a week 39 (70%) 17 (30%)
About once a week 31 (17%) 8 (83%)
A few times a month 0 5 (100%)
Once a month 1 (33%) 2 (67%)
Less than once a month 0 2 (100%)

Table 5: The frequency of fast food consumption by gender.

Discussion

The prevalence of obesity and hypertension has increased rapidly among Chinese children [16]. Obesity prevalence is 20% in children in China by 2010 [17]. Hypertension prevalence is 20.2% in Chinese boys and 16.3% in girls; elevated BP was also common among obese children [18]. They suggested that the shifts in Chinese children’s food intake might have contributed to the increase in obesity and hypertension. A recent study reported that the prevalence of overweight ranged from 20.3%-35.1%, while the prevalence of obesity ranged from 8.1%-22.2% in Nigeria, and the prevalence of overweight and obese individuals in Nigeria is of epidemic proportions [19]. It has been reported that there is an increase in the incidence of diabetes mellitus in Nigeria [20]. They suggested that urban-dwelling, physical inactivity, advanced age, and unhealthy diet including fast food are important risk factors for diabetes mellitus among Nigerians.

In the present study, the percentage of participants having fast food consumption daily is 67% and this rate is very high and not acceptable for public health. Also, male university students prefer to eat fast food every day, but female ones prefer it a few times a week or about once a week. These results were consistent with the results of a recent study [21]. In a Kuwait university, Most of students (81.4%) consumed fast food more than twice per week and more male students (54.8%) than women (38.7%) were overweight or obese; however, there were no differences in the fast-food frequency per body mass index or sex. They have the risk of important health problems such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes mellitus [1], and their children have the risk of gestational diabetes [3-5]. It has been reported that fast food consumption was related to abdominal obesity as Waist-Hip Ratio. The prevalence of fast food consumption and obesity/overweight in Iranian student is high. Fast food consumption was associated with abdominal obesity-based Waist-Hip Ratio [22]. Therefore, there is a need to pay closer attention to combating these health disorders. A fast food consumption cutting down policy can be highly recommended to university managements.

The most reasons for fast food consumption were ‘convenience’ (26%), ‘variety of options’ (32%), and ‘limited time/no access to cooking’ (19%). Men reported ‘convenience’ and ‘taste’ as a reason for their fast food consumption preference, but women reported ‘variety of options’, ‘convenience’, and ‘limited time/no access to cooking’. Similarly, Kuwait university students reported that ‘taste’ was the most reported motivator to consume fast food (46.7%) and women were significantly more likely to value taste as compared to men (49.8% vs. 38.9%) [21]. Also, there was the marital status difference in terms of the frequency of fast food consumption, single participants prefer to eat fast food every day, but the married participants prefer it a few times a week or about once a week.

Limitation

This study had several limitations. First, data were collected from students at a private Nigerian university, but not from the state universities, where students may have different attitudes/ behaviors concerning fast-food consumption. Second, factors that may be associated with fast-food intake were not addressed and could have provided us with a better understanding of students’ fast-food intake, including perceived body image, triggers for consumption (e.g., stress), dietary knowledge, and parental fastfood intake.

Conclusion

It can be stated that there is an increase in the incidence of fast food consumption in Nigerian university students. It can be predicted that this trend will cause a high prevalence of obesity, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus in adulthood period and gestational diabetes mellitus in their children. Therefore, students, especially men and single students, should be educated on the negative effects of frequent fast-food consumption.

Perception of Private University Student on Fast Food Consumption

This research is to determine the habits, preference, and reasons why students prefers fast food. To this end we kindly request that you complete the following questionnaire. Your response is of utmost importance to us. Thank you! (Table 6).

Section A
Age
18 and below 19-21 22-24 25 and above
Gender
Female Male    
Marital Status
Single Married Divorced  
Academic Level
1st 2nd 3rd 4th
Section B
Do you consume fast food?
Yes No    
How many times do you consume fast food on average?
Everyday A few times a week About once a week Once in a month
What is the main reason for choosing to eat at a fast food restaurant/shop?
Convenience Taste Price Location
As treat Variety of option Limited skills of cooking/time  

Table 6: Questionnaire.

References

Author Info

Omolola Atanda1 and Senol Dane2*

1Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Natural and Applied Sciences, Nile University of Nigeria, Abuja, Nigeria
2Department of Physiology, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Nile University of Nigeria, Abuja, Nigeria
 

Citation: Omolola Atanda, Senol Dane, Attitude Towards Fast Food Consumption Among Students in a Private Nigerian University by Gender, Academic Level, and Marital Status, J Res Med Dent Sci, 2020, 8 (3):248-252.

Received: 01-May-2020 Accepted: 11-Jun-2020 Published: 18-Jun-2020

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