Fast food, also known as Quick Service Restaurant within the industry, and ‘Junk food’ informally, is becoming more and more popular form of food choice especially in young people (Schlosser, 2001), including students. As it is cheap and quick option the global market is growing dramatically in recent years. Saying this, studies like Robin (2011), have been done which show fast food as “unhealthy” and it adversely affects health in long term.
This research focuses on KICL students in general who will be as the target subjects to understand their views on fast food. The thesis will try to investigate how students at KICL’s view the intake of fast food by studying their eating habits, food choices they make, with key understanding the reasons for the same, how far they are aware of its speculated results, and their reactions, if any, to ‘solve the problems’. It will also try to see that as a student in London (as they have migrated for studies) does it affect the patternIf yes, to what extent and their reasons. The views of students will also be noticed in context with their definition of a healthy diet, hence this data can be linked and worked upon with fast food dominance. The study will be conducted at the college of students of random nationalities, thus making the research more general.
Talking about research methods briefly, handing out questionnaires to atleast 30 students around the college with mixed nationalities at random. It will be used in simple format; the questions in the questionnaire will be around 15 in quantity, clear and non-analytical. I will be also providing some general data and discussion in brief before presenting questionnaire, which helps for better outcome from participants.
Here are some of the sample questions which shall be asked to the participants during the research:
-On average, How often do you choose to go to a fast food restaurant in a week?___
– Are you eating fast food as often as you were when you were in your country?
Yes___ No ___Not Sure___
-Tick as appropriate, why you choose fast food rather than ‘traditional’ meal?:
a.) Saves time.
b.) Reasonable price.
c.) Taste appealing.
d.) Take-away facility.
e.) Fast-food surroundings are less formal, hence preferred.
f.) No need to cook.
g.) Other Reason(s) (Please Specify)___________________________
-How far do you agree/disagree that such food adversely effects an individual’s health?
a.) Strongly agree
b.) Fairly agree
d.) Fairly disagree
e.) Strongly disagree
– If you think that fast food is not an ideal choice, please answer:
Why do you think soTick as many appropriate
a.)For claimed negative effects
b.) Alleged animal cruelty
c.) Cases of worker exploitation
d.) Claim of cultural degradation due to shift in eating patterns
e.) Any other (Please Specify) ______________________
-Write in your own views, if you believe fast food as questionable choice (not more than 50 words) what could be the ‘solution’ to the concerns of fast food?
– What according to you is a ‘healthy diet’?
Assessing many previous researches, one common result for fast food found is ‘it makes people obese, and though it claims to satisfy hunger and taste buds, people are left with malnutrition’ (John, 1999). As Mark (2010) goes, “While companies like McDonald’s and Burger King, Domino’s Pizza ‘glitter’ in market for their promise of ‘unbeatable taste’ and ‘free-quick home delivery’, t he true cost of unhealthy food isn’t just the price tag–in fact, the real costs are hidden.” He claims, “Obese people account for a disproportionate share of health-related absences from work, as obese people visit their physicians 40 percent more than normal weight people”. This element can also be replaced in students as they have absences from classes.
In recent times, fast food has replaced traditional form of meal. This can be because of multiple reasons including cheaper price, time saving, taste preference, as Pollan (2009) defends. However it seems these are true observations in some ways, but it is at the stake of health of people. To refute these arguments perhaps Mark (2010) comes again. He states, “When you eat unhealthy foods like these, the costs of medical visits, co-pays, prescription medications, and other health services skyrocket.” Government policies are either so flexible or supportive that there is difficulty to break these vicious chains, he adds. According to Currie et. al. (2009) Women are more likely to take their children below age 12 to a fast food chain during lunch than any other meal time. This can mean that eventually more and more children are on verge of obesity and health issues. More specifically for this research project, as per an article, the implied effects of fast-food on caloric intake are at least one order of magnitude larger for students than for mothers, consistent with smaller travel cost for adults (Currie et. al, 2009).
Some of the concerns have led to the rise of the Slow Food, or local food movements seeking to preserve local cuisines and ingredients, and directly oppose laws and habits that favour fast food choices. Slow food activists educate customers about what its members considers the richer, more varied and more nourishing tastes of fresh, local ingredients that have been recently harvested. This is very supportive to attack on cultural degradation due to change food patterns (Schlosser, 2001). He further touches other angle explaining how the meatpacking factories concentrate livestock into large feedlots and herd them through processing assembly lines operated by poorly trained employees increase the risk of large-scale food poisoning. Another semi-formal research was carried out by Morgan Spurlock in Super Size Me a 2004 American documentary film, wherein He is seen by three doctors (a cardiologist, a gastroenterologist, and a GP), as well as a nutritionist and a personal trainer. He follows a 30-day period during which he eats only McDonald’s food; fully eat three McDonald’s meals per day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner, during these days, he experienced steadily increasing stomach discomfort, nausea and vomits, on 21st day, heart palpitations started. Thus, the results were worse than expected, he got 11Kgs surplus. a cholesterol level of 230, and experienced mood swings, sexual dysfunction, and fat accumulation in his liver. He used ‘detox’ diet to make his body system back to normal. Webber (2009) argues that it is not only McDonald’s but all other major ‘junk factories’ oddly contribute in this manner.
The World Health Organisation launched an awareness programme in 2004 which aimed at adopting global health and diet recommendations: reduce sugars, processed foods, soft drinks and junk food advertising. An online article, The Hamburger (2002) showed future threats of fast food with and coined as ‘mishap in society’.
While it seems that almost no research shows the beneficial health effects and overall positive outlook of this modern concern of fast food, perhaps this research can enable to help, support, and make aware about the reality of fast food. Additionally, this research may make even participants think critically and the data collected will help provide some in-depth relations to other research works and views and can have scope for further development as well.
Currie. J, et. al, (2009), The Effect of Fast Food Restaurants on Obesity and Weightgain, NBER Working Paper No. 14721, National Bureau of Economic Research.
Hyman, Mark, (2010), Why Quick, Cheap Food Is Actually More Expensive?, Retrived from < http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/why-quick-cheap-food-is-a_b_681539.html?> [Accessed 10th April 2011]
Jakle, John , (1999). Fast Food: Roadside Restaurants in the Automobile Age. Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-6920-X.
Kroc, Ray, et.al., (1992), Grinding It Out: The Making of McDonald’s. St. Martin’s Press.
Online Article (2002), The Hamburger, National Public Radio. Available at [Accessed 11th March 2011]
Pollan, M. (2009). In Defense of Food: an Eater’s Manifesto, Penguin, New York City.
Schlosser, Eric (2001). Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, Houghton Mifflin Books. ISBN 0395977894.
Unkown Author, (2008), The Obesity Crisis: What’s it all about?, The Endocrine Society, The Hormone Foundation.
Webber, Karl, (2009), Food Inc.: A Participant Guide: How Industrial Food is Making Us Sicker, Fatter, and Poorer-And What You Can Do About It, First Edition, PublicAffairs.
World Health Organization, (2004), Internet News Article for Awareness, Available at [Accessed 13th June 2011]
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