Health

Fast Food Consumption among College Students

The rapid urbanization coupled with college students’ busy lifestyles has rapidly changed their lifestyle and, consequently, their eating habits. The eating habits display the sociocultural trends and nutritional goals of people with time. 

Fast food is among the fastest-growing foods consumed by college students. This is typically food that is quickly prepared and purchased in self-service restaurants then packaged for the customer to take away.

Due to the world’s globalization, fast foods have become a central part of the economy, primarily targeting the younger generation. College provides for a unique blend of factors that influence students differently. We will discuss some of the factors that make fast foods so prevalent in college and their effects.

Factors why fast foods are popular in college

1. Convenience

One of the most apparent reasons why students opt for fast foods is convenience. Fast foods are quick to serve and readily available, making a good alternative for home-made food. Eating fast food is also convenient as the student can choose to eat from their desired location. They can eat from the comfort of their cars, in the restaurant, or even in their apartments. Bringing the meal back home in the evening is also convenient for them as they do not have to cook.

2. Saving time

Most students eat in fast-food restaurants to save time. Sometimes college students have classes all day, and they have limited time for their lunch hour. During the lunch hour, they also run quick errands and have no time for making a meal at home. Students are also sometimes coupled with too many assignments. You can get professional academic writing help at Advancedwriters.com to help you save time. Students who eat in restaurants also save time because they do not have to go shopping for food, wash dishes, or prepare meals. Fast foods place their food in Styrofoam containers that are disposable after use.

3. Breaking monotony from classwork

Eating in fast-food restaurants gives students a break from classes and studies. Fast foods are always close to the university premises and give students a perfect opportunity to socialize with their friends in a friendly atmosphere.

4. Affordability

Fast foods are also relatively cheap as compared to food bought in groceries or cafeterias. The fast-food chains are close to each other creating high competition amongst themselves and drive the prices to reasonable student levels. This highly plausible relationship establishes the link affecting fast food consumption amongst students.

5. Delicious taste

Some people have reportedly claimed to consume fast foods because of the delicious taste but were unaware of the harmful effects of fast food consumption. The delightful taste has made these foods more widely accepted.

6. Health Consciousness

One other factor that contributes to fast-food consumption is overall health consciousness. College students that adhere to strict dietary practices are less likely to consume fast foods. Their health consciousness limits their food choices with saturated fats and added sugars. However, generally, 67% of adults think that fast foods are not suitable for health, but consumption is still rising.

7. Effects of living away from home

The effects of living miles from home cut across most college students regarding their food choices. The impact might not be significant, but the consumption of fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods is less frequent for students living away from home. The consumption of cakes and salads does not change as both students in school, and those at home consume them equally.

Fast food preferences among students

Among the top categories of fast food, preferences are pizzas, fries, and noodles. Students also heavily consume burgers, chicken noodles, and soft drinks as accompaniments for their nourishment. Other factors that students consider are restaurant-related. These are the quality of food, speediness of service, decoration, convenience, and atmosphere. The high menu variety also influences the food choices among the students.

Drawbacks of fast foods

Although fast foods seem perfect for students, they come coupled with a lot of drawbacks. Consuming these meals in huge quantities leads to severe health consequences. Fast foods provide an energy-dense and nutrient-deficient diet. We will discuss the effects of fast foods below.

1. Obesity

The low nutritional value causes obesity in regular consumers. Junk foods contain ingredients and coloring that are often inedible and detrimental to the body. They also have carcinogenic effects causing a problem in the digestive system in a few years. The low fiber levels bring about digestive issues to the body.

2. Diseases

Consuming fast foods frequently leads to diseases such as arteriosclerosis. This is the hardening of the arteries caused by the high fat and grease content in these foods. These foods are also loaded with copious amounts of sodium. These sodium amounts lead to high blood pressure. They might not feel the effects, but the problems arise later in life with many complications.

Overconsumption can also cause diabetes and other chronic illnesses such as kidney failure, stroke, and related heart diseases. In most cases, overconsumption of fast foods coupled with a lack of exercise leads to these complications.

Fast foods also have a high amount of triglycerides. This slows down metabolism, lowers memory retention, and makes people less active. The nutritional deficit should be covered by rich foods such as vegetables, fruits, and grains.

The eating habits of today have changed because of different technological improvements and variations in living conditions. The scarcity of time also led to an increased demand for fast foods. The overweight and obesity epidemic health costs are on the rise, and fast food consumption has one of the primary factors contributing to this epidemic. 

College students are increasingly consuming fast foods despite the well-known health effects thinking that they are invincible when it comes to their health.

With the budgetary challenges in healthcare and increased healthcare costs, college students need to be more conscious of their dietary choices. Colleges can play a part by teaching the students the effects of their dietary practices and reducing the universities’ fast food outlets.

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