Factors Related to the Number of Fast Food Meals Obtained by College Meal Plan Students

Deirdre A. Dingman, Mark R. Schulz, David L. Wyrick, Daniel L. Bibeau, Sat N. Gupta
2014 Journal of American College Health  
Objectives: This study tested whether days on campus, financial access through a meal plan, and health consciousness were associated with number of meals that college students obtained from fast food restaurants. Participants and Methods: In April 2013, all students currently enrolled in a meal plan were invited to participate in an online survey (N= 1,246). Students were asked to report the total number of meals eaten in the past week and where they obtained them. Results: Negative binomial
more » ... ression was used, and it was found that the number of meals obtained from fast food restaurants was positively associated with financial access and negatively associated with health consciousness. An association between days on campus and the number of meals obtained from fast food restaurants was not found. Conclusions: Increasing levels of health consciousness and reducing access to fast food restaurants through flex plans may reduce college students' consumption of fast food. Keywords: college students | fast food | meal plans | obesity Article: Compared with other adults, young adults (aged 20 to 39) consume the most fast food. 1 Young adults obtain about 15% of their calories from fast food meals, whereas adults between the ages of 40 and 59 obtain 10.5% of their calories from fast food meals, and those aged 60 and older only 6%. 1 (As per the literature, 2-5 throughout this article and in our study, we include pizza restaurants in the category of fast food.) Studies specific to college students, many of whom are in the 20 to 29 age group, show that most consume at least 1 fast food meal a week, 6 and some consume as many as 6 to 8. 7 In one Vermont study, college students ate fast food 70% more often than non-college-attending adults within the same community. 8
doi:10.1080/07448481.2014.945456 pmid:25057766 fatcat:pyvt5hn52bgkphv6zfhxeidr2u