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Study of Fast Food Consumption Pattern in India in Children Aged 16-20 years

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Fast food consumption pattern was studied on 51 children aged 16-20 years in India using a pre-tested and pre-designed performa to collect information about age, family type, dietary history, consumption of junk foods, food habits and food consumption pattern, food intake per day, nutritional status data, anthropometric measurement such as height, weight, etc. and body mass index (BMI). The study revealed that the respondents had reached the border line of BMI and approaching towards obesity. It was also observed from the results that the adolescents consume more calories, fats and carbohydrates and less proteins, vitamins, iron and dietary fiber than the recommended dietary allowances which is a serious concern and may be a predisposing factor for obesity. Also the contribution of carbohydrates to total energy intake is more, followed by fats and less contribution is provided by proteins which is again a serious concern.
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Intl. J. Food. Ferment. Technol. 7(1): 1-8, June, 2017
©2017 New Delhi Publishers. All rights reserved
DOI:
Study of Fast Food Consumption Pattern in India in Children
Aged 16-20 years
Tawheed Amin1*, Nisha Choudhary2, H.R. Naik1, Abida Jabeen3 and A.H. Rather1
1Divison of Post-Harvest Technology, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences & Technology-Kashmir,
Shalimar Campus, Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India
2Amity Institute of Food Technology, Amity University, Sector-125, Noida, Uar Pradesh, India
3Department of Food Technology, Islamic University of Science and Technology, Awantipora, Jammu & Kashmir, INDIA
*Corresponding author: tawheed.amin@gmail.com
Paper No.: Received: Accepted:
Abstract
Fast food consumption paern was studied on 51 children aged 16-20 years in India using a pre-tested and pre-designed
performa to collect information about age, family type, dietary history, consumption of junk foods, food habits and
food consumption paern, food intake per day, nutritional status data, anthropometric measurement such as height,
weight, etc. and body mass index (BMI). The study revealed that the respondents had reached the border line of BMI and
approaching towards obesity. It was also observed from the results that the adolescents consume more calories, fats and
carbohydrates and less proteins, vitamins, iron and dietary ber than the recommended dietary allowances which is a
serious concern and may be a predisposing factor for obesity. Also the contribution of carbohydrates to total energy intake
is more, followed by fats and less contribution is provided by proteins which is again a serious concern.
Keywords: Fast food, obesity, body mass index, anthropometric measurements, high sugar, high salt
Food diversity is an implicit characteristic of India’s
diversied culture consisting of dierent regions and
states within. Traditionally, most of the Indians like
to have home-cooked meals– a concept supported
religiously as well as individually. However, due to
the inuence of western culture and urbanization,
there is a slight shi in food consumption paerns
among urban Indian families. It started with eating
outside and moved on to accepting a wide variety of
delicacies from all over the world (Goyal and Singh,
2007).
Adolescence is a period of increased vulnerability
to obesity. Lack of physical activity and outdoor
sports, along with the consumption of fat-rich ‘junk’
foods, is the major cause of obesity among the
auent population (Choudhury and Gogia, 2006).
Consumption of diet high in sugar, saturated fat,
salt and calorie content in children can lead to early
development of obesity, hypertension, dyslipidaemia,
and impaired glucose tolerance (Kotecha et al., 2013).
Some dietary paerns appear quite common among
adolescents, to mention a few: snack eating, usually
on energy-dense foods; meal skipping, particularly
breakfast, or irregular meals; wide use of fast food;
and low consumption of fruits and vegetables
(Cavadini et al., 1999; Dausch et al., 1995). Among
urban adolescents in India, some of these paerns are
also likely to be common but very lile information is
available on this aspect.
2
Amin et al.
Most of the young people are presumed to be healthy
but, as per World Health Organization (WHO), an
estimated 2.6 million young people aged 10 to 24
year die each year and a much greater number of
young people suer from illnesses behaviors which
hinder their ability to grow and develop to their full
potential. Nearly two-thirds of premature deaths
and one-third of the total disease burden in adults
are associated with conditions or behaviors initiated
in their youth (e.g. tobacco use, physical inactivity,
high risk sexual behaviors, injury and violence and
others) (Young people: health risks and solutions,
2011). The behavioral paerns established during
this developmental phase determine their current
health status and the risk for developing some
chronic diseases in later years (Sunitha and Gururaj,
2014). A signicant reduction in the mortality and
morbidity of communicable, maternal and neonatal
disorders since 1990 due to concerted and integrated
eort led to a shi in focus towards the health, safety
and survival of the young people (Collins et al., 2013;
Gururaj, 2013).
It is crucial to understand the health problems of
this population, processes and mechanisms that
aect their health and to identify interventions and
strategic approaches that may protect their health
and develop and implement policies and programs
(Sunitha and Gururaj, 2014).
The practice of high consumption of junk foods
like maggi noodles, burgers, pao-bhaji, sandwiches,
hot dogs, paies, pastries, popcorn, potato chips,
carbonated drinks, biscuits, muns, toast, kulcha-
channa, samosa, chocolates etc. have become a common
feature of adolescent’s diet (Singh and Singh, 2008;
Goel et al., 2013). Adolescent’s eating behaviors are
strongly inuenced by their social environments,
which include family, peer networks, schools,
advertising, religion and knowledge (Gomathy and
John, 2008). Ill eects of regular intake of junk foods
are mainly lack of energy, poor concentration and
obesity leading to inferiority complex, depression,
heart diseases, high cholesterol, stunted growth,
premature ageing and tooth decay (Chhibber, 2010).
According to a study on adolescents, with excessive
consumption of processed foods and high fat diets
obesity is on the rise (Augustine and Poojara, 2003).
Dietary quality declines from childhood to
adolescence (Lytle et al., 2000) with dietary habits
likely to promote fatness being actively adopted. For
example, the consumption of fruit, vegetables and
milk decreases from childhood to adolescence (Lytle
et al., 2000), while so-drink consumption increases
(Nielsen and Popkin, 2004; Goel et al., 2013). Due
toan increasing allurement of adolescents towards
junk food and increasing prevalence of overweight/
obesity among adolescents, the present study was
conducted to examine and understand the eating
behavior of children aged 16-20 years in India.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Selection of subjects
A sample of 51 children (school and college students)
of age 16-20 years were selected by purposive
sampling method.
Data collection
The age of children was ascertained by questioning
them and age in completed years was taken for
analysis. A pre-tested and pre-designed performa was
used to collect the following information- age, family
type, dietary history, consumption of junk food, food
habit and food consumption paern (collection of
information regarding food habits, number of meals
per day, amount of food and type of food consumed
by the respondents per day), nutritional status data
(anthropometric measurement-physical dimensions
such as height, weight, etc. and gross composition of
human body, dietary survey) and body mass index
(BMI).
In the present study, BMI of the subjects was calculated
to categorize them into underweight, normal weight
and obese according to the classication given by
Garrow (1981) (Table 1).
Dietary intake
The dietary intake of the subjects was adjudged by
“Diet Survey method”. 24 hours recall method using
Study of Fast Food Consumption Paern in India in Children Aged 16-20 years
3
standardized containers was employed to record
the dietary intake of the subjects (Goel et al., 2013).
The dierent food items consumed were converted
into their raw equivalents; categorized into their
respective food groups and average daily intake of
energy, protein, fat, calcium, iron, β-carotene and
vitamin C were calculated from the values per 100g
of edible portion using Michigan State University
(MSU) nutriguide (Song et al., 1992). The nutritive
value of some of the foods like maggi, noodles, potato
chips, biscuits etc. were taken from the information
provided on the package of a product. The calculated
nutrient intake was compared with the recommended
dietary allowances (RDA) for the respective age
group (16-20 years) (Gopalan et al., 2004).
Table 1: Garrow’s classication of body mass index
(BMI), Kg/m2
BMI (kg/m2)Classication
18-20.0 Underweight
20.0-25.0 Normal
25.0-29.0 Obesity Class I
> 30.0 Obesity Class II
Anthropometric measurements
Height and weight were measured by using the
methods of Indian Council of Medical Research
(ICMR) (Brahmam et al., 2005). Weight was measured
using an electronic balance (ATCO) with 100g of
accuracy and was recorded in kilograms, to the
nearest 100g. The body mass index (BMI) was
calculated as the weight in kilogram/height (Kg/
m2) and it was classied according to the Garrow’s
classication given by American National Institute of
Health and National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
(NHLBI) (Bethesda, 1998).
Data analysis
The data collected were subjected to qualitative
and quantitative analysis. The anthropometric data
relating to height and weight of the children were
used to calculate BMI. Aer 24 hours of dietary
record, the nutritive value of these diets in terms of
energy, protein, carbohydrate and fat were calculated
by using values given (Gopalan, 2004). The average
nutrient intake per day per child was calculated
and then compared with Recommended Dietary
Allowances (RDA) as given by ICMR (2002). A
code design was prepared in context to response of
various questionnaires. The responses of each child
were separately transferred into master sheet for easy
interpretation. Data was compiled, analyzed and
presented in proportions and percentages. Statistical
analysis was carried out using the Statistical Package
for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 16.0.
Table 2: General prole of the respondents (n=51)
Variables Percentage
Gender
Male
Female
43.13
56.86
Age
16-18 years
19-20 years
56.86
43.13
Education
Pre-university
College
49.01
50.98
Religion
Hindu
Muslim
Christian
92.15
5.88
1.96
Food habit
Vegetarian
Non-vegetarian
Eggetarian
39.21
50.98
9.80
Family type
Nuclear
Joint
78.43
21.56
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
General Prole
The general prole of children is presented in Table
2. It was found that 56.86% were in the age group of
16-18 years while 43.13% were in the age group of
19-20 years. Out of the respondents, 49.01% were pre-
4
Amin et al.
university children and 50.98% were college-going
students. The subjects were 92.15% Hindu where
as 5.88% were Muslims and 1.96% were Christians.
Among the subjects, 78.43% had nuclear family
while as 21.56% had joint family. About 39.21% of
the respondents were vegetarian, 50.98% were non-
vegetarian while as 9.80% were eggeterian.
Table 3: Eating habits among respondents
Variables Percentage
Regular Meals
Yes
No
50.98
49.01
Daily Breakfast
Yes
No
50.98
49.01
Frequency of daily meals
Less than three times
Three or more times
58.82
41.17
Frequency of having snacks (per week)
Less than three times
Three or more times
56.86
43.13
Weekly consumption of vegetables &
legumes
Less than three times
Three or more times
31.37
68.62
Weekly consumption of fruits
Less than three times
Three or more times
27.45
72.54
Meals with friends & family
Daily
Not daily
80.39
19.60
Out of the total respondents, 43.13% were males and
56.86% were females. Gender may be considered as
one of the major predictors of junk food consumption.
Males are more likely to have diets higher in total
saturated fat compared to females (Story et al., 2002;
French et al., 2001). There is also some evidence that
females are inuenced by social environment to a
greater extent than males. Driskell and colleagues
(2006) reported that bigger percentage of women
(34%) than men (13%) indicated that one of the two
primary reasons for choosing to eat at fast food
restaurants was to eat with friends and family.
Nevertheless, some studies did not nd signicant
associations between eating fast food and gender
(Satia et al., 2004).
Table 4: Pattern of fast food consumption among respondents
Paern of fast food consumption Percentage
Frequency of consumption per week
Once
Twice
Thrice
Four times
Occasionally
Everyday
3.92
54.90
15.68
15.68
9.80
Favorite type of fast food
Flour products
Flour products and carbonated drinks
Carbonated drinks
76.47
82.35
94.11
Preference of fast foods to homemade
meal
Yes
No
25.49
74.50
Dietary habits and life-style paern
Self-reported food preferences have been found to
be one of the strongest predictors of food choices
(Woodward et al., 1996). The study shows that
eating junk foods was associated with pleasure,
being with friends, independence, aordability and
convenience. The perceived characteristics of healthy
foods were in direct contrast to those of junk foods.
Eating healthful food was linked with family meals
and being at home. Eating and liking junk food
was seen as a normal behavior among adolescents,
whereas liking healthful food was viewed as an
oddity. Our results are in agreement with the results
shown by Chapman and Maclean (1993).
As can be seen from Table 3, 50.98% eat meals
regularly while as 49.01% do not eat meals regularly
among which 58.82% eat daily meals less than three
times and 41.17% eat daily meals three or more times.
Study of Fast Food Consumption Paern in India in Children Aged 16-20 years
5
About 50.98% eat breakfast daily while as 49.01% do
not eat breakfast daily. 56.86% of the respondents eat
snacks less than three times a week while as 43.13%
eat snacks three or more times a week. 31.37% of
the respondents consume vegetables and legumes
less than three times a week and 68.62% consume
vegetables and legumes three times or more per
week. 27.45% of the respondents consume fruits less
than three times a week while as 72.54% consume
three or more times a week. Eating meals with friends
and family plays an important role. About 80.39% of
the respondents eat with friends and family daily
while as 19.60% do not eat daily with their friends
and family.
Table 5: Respondents’ perception of how fast foods can lead to
non-communicable diseases (NCDs)
Perception of how fast food consumption
can lead to NCDs
Percentage
Fast foods contain cholesterol, sugar, salt, fats
etc. and their accumulation in the body
31.37
Fast foods are not cooked under healthy
condition and environment
29.41
Increases the risk of developing non-
communicable diseases (NCDs)
3.92
Excessive consumption of fast foods 25.49
Intake of chemicals/toxins contained in the
preservatives and their accumulation
9.80
Table 4 shows the fast food consumption paern of
the respondents. About 3.92% of the respondents
consume fast foods about once a week, 54.90%
consume twice a week, 15.68% consume thrice a
week, 15.68% consume four times a week and 9.80%
occasionally consume fast foods a week. However,
none of the respondents consume fast foods everyday
per week.
From Table 5, it can be observed that about 45% of the
respondents take carbonated drinks which contain
carbon dioxide and is high in calories which could
be a reason of obesity. Only 4% of the respondents
purchase mineral water which is good for health.
22% of the respondents purchase and consume fruit
juices and about 10% of the respondents consume
milk and shakes along with fast foods. Juice and
shakes are rich in various nutrients like vitamin C,
folic acid, potassium and are an excellent source
of bioavailable antioxidant phytochemicals and
signicantly improves blood lipid proles in people
suering from hypercholesterolemia. About 15%
of the respondents consume tea/coee along with
fast foods and only 4% of the respondents were not
consuming any type of drink along with fast foods.
0 10 20 30 40 50
Carbonated drinks
Mineral water
Milk & shake
Fruity juice
Tea/coffee
No drink
Consumption of soft drinks or other drinks along with
fast food
Respondents (%)
Fig. 1: Consumption of soft drink or other drinks along
with fast food
Respondent’s knowledge (awareness) of the contents of
fast foods
High sugar content
High salt content
Saturated fats
High cholesterol
Additives
Low fiber content
Fig. 2: Respondent’s knowledge (awareness) of the
contents of fast foods
Knowledge related to fast food
Fig. 2 shows an awareness of fast food among the
respondents. The respondents know various names
like burger, pizza, hamburgers, cake, French fries,
ice-creams, hot dogs, chips as examples of fast food.
31.9% of the respondents are aware about high
sugar content of fast foods, 68.8% of the respondents
6
Amin et al.
know about the high salt content of fast foods, 74%
of the respondents know that fast foods have high
saturated fat content and 51.5% respondents have
knowledge about the high cholesterol level in fast
foods. However, only 3.92% know that fast foods
contain additives and 21.56% know about the low
ber content even then they do not stop themselves
from consumption.
Table 5 shows the perception of respondents how fast
foods consumption can lead to non-communicable
diseases (NCDs). More than half of the respondents
disagreed with the view that fast food consumption
predisposes one to developing NCDs such as diabetes
and only 1% of the respondents agreed with therisk
factors for non-communicable diseases (NCDs)
associated with consumption of fast food which is
consistent with the earlier research works which found
that fast foods are a contributing factor in the etiology
of NCDs such as hypertension and cardiovascular
diseases (CVDs). One possible explanation for this
could be their disagreement about the role of fast
food consumption in causing NCDs while as another
possible reason could be that they are not enlightened
about how fast food consumption can possibly lead
to NCDs. However, some respondents explained
that fast foods contain cholesterol, salt, sugar and
fats which may accumulate in the body leading to
obesity, hypertension and/or heart diseases. This
corroborates the World Health Organization (WHO)
stating that fast foods are high in fat, sugar and
sodium (as salt) which contribute additional calories,
excess body fat and increased body weight. It further
stated that being overweight or obese increases the
likelihood of suering from coronary heart diseases
(CHDs), diabetes and hypertension.
Anthropometric measurements of the respondents
Table 6 shows the standard weight and mean weight
of the respondents. According to National Center for
Health Statistics (NCHS) standards, weight for age
group 16-18 years should be 57.1 Kg for boys and
49.9 Kg weight for girls. The data shows that in this
age group (16-18 years) boys deviated by -1.6 Kg and
girls by +2.4 Kg from the standard. In age group of
19-20 years, the body weight should be 62.1 Kg for
boys and 52.2 Kg for girls however, the data shows
that boys deviated by +8.1 Kg and girls by -1.4 Kg
from their respective standards. Table 6 also shows
the dierence between mean height and standard
height. The data shows boys of age group 16-18
years showed a deviation of +3.2 cm from standard
and girls of +1.5 cm from the standard and in the age
group of 19-20 years; boys deviated by +1.7 cm and
girls by -5.3c m from the standard values.
Table 7: Mean BMI of respondents
Age group
(Years)
Mean BMI
Boys Girls
16-18 18.8 19.6
19-20 22.5 20.05
<18.5-underweight; 18.5-22.5-Normal; >22.5-Obese
Table 7 shows body mass index (BMI) of the
respondents. As observed from the table, girls in the
age group of 16-18 years and 19-20 years came under
normal range of BMI (18.5-22.5). Also the boys in the
age group of 16-18 years have normal BMI but boys in
the age group of 19-20 years had BMI of 22.5 i.e. they
were at the border line of normal and overweight.
Table 6: Comparison of mean body weight and mean height with standard
Age
(Years)
Standard
(Kg)
Mean Weight
(Kg)
Weight
Dierence (Kg)
Standard
(cm)
Mean height
(cm)
Height
Dierence
(cm)
Boys Girls Boys Girls Boys Girls Boys Girls Boys Girls Boys Girls
16-18 57.1 49.9 55.5 52.3 -1.6 +2.4 162.2 162.1 165.4 163.6 +3.2 +1.5
19-20 62.1 52.2 70.2 50.8 +8.1 -1.4 167.1 165.1 168.8 159.8 +1.7 -5.3
Study of Fast Food Consumption Paern in India in Children Aged 16-20 years
7
But as the age increases, the BMI increases which is
an alarming sign, therefore, it could be inferred that
the respondents (adolescents) were approaching
towards obesity.
Nutritional intake of the respondents
Table 8 shows the overall consumption of various
nutrients consumed by the respondents. The data in
the table 8 showed that, the total energy consumed
was 107.5% of the recommended daily allowances
(RDA) most of which is obtained through fat and
carbohydrates which may lead to obesity. Data also
shows that the consumption of micronutrients and
ber was less than RDA.
Fig. 3 shows that most of the energy is being provided
by carbohydrates followed by fat and less from
proteins which is an alarming sign and if followed
the same way may lead to obesity.
11.1
29.9
74.8
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
Protein Fat Carbohydrates
Contribution of each nutrient to total energy
Percentage
Fig. 3: Contribution of each nutrient to total energy
As these children have started disturbing their dietary
paern, therefore in the long run this will lead to
various health complications among the adolescents.
CONCLUSION
Most of the respondents do not take meals on their
regular time which may be one of the predisposing
factors for obesity among the adolescents. Also a good
proportion of respondents were found eating snacks
about 3 times a week. The results of the present study
indicate that the children falling in the age group of
19-20 years have reached the border line of basal
mass index and approaching towards obesity. It was
revealed that the adolescents consume more calories,
fats and carbohydrates and less proteins, vitamins,
iron and dietary ber than the RDA requirements
which is a serious concern and may also be another
predisposing factor for obesity. Also, the contribution
of carbohydrates to total energy intake is more
followed by fats and less contribution is provided by
proteins which is again serious concern.
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Nutrient RDA Mean ± SD Dierence from RDA Percent consumption of RDA
Energy (kcal) 2350 2527.58 ± 42.71 +177.58 107.5
Protein (g) 70.5 65.3 ± 9.6 -5.2 92.6
Fat (g) 22 78.2 ± 8.1 +56.2 355.45
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Iron (mg) 40 14.8 ± 4.0 -25.2 37
Dietary ber (g) 25 14.3 ± 3.7 -10.7 43
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8
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