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Fast Food Consumption and Health Status of Students of a University in Sri Lanka

Authors:

J. M. J. K. Jayasinghe ,

University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Nugegoda, LK
About J. M. J. K.
Department of Food Science and Technology, Faculty of Applied Sciences
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L. P. U. De Silva

University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Nugegoda, LK
About L. P. U.
Department of Food Science and Technology, Faculty of Applied Sciences
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Abstract

Fast foods have gained popularity in Sri Lanka, especially among the youths and people who have busy lifestyles. University students who stay most of the time away from home tend to consider convenience, availability and style of eating as important factors in fulfilling their food and energy requirement. This situation may lead to have an imbalance in their nutrient status and to increase the risk of diet related non communicable diseases (NCDs). This study identified the factors influencing fast food consumption among students in one of the state universities of Sri Lanka. Moreover, the nutrient compositions of mostly consumed fast foods were analyzed and the current health status of the students was identified. The research was conducted with both online and offline using a questionnaire for which two hundred and five students responded. Around 54% of the students consumed fast foods more than once a day. Price and taste were the major attributes that determined the selection of fast food. No differences were found between attitude towards fast food consumption and gender, frequency of fast food consumption and nutritional status and body mass index (BMI) and gender. Majority (70%) of the students in the faculty were healthy and having a normal BMI (20-21 kg/m2). Approximately, one quarter (26%) of females were underweight and only 65% of them were normal and healthy. Of the female respondents, 7% were overweight and 2% were obese. Among the male students, 79% were healthy with normal BMI. However, as 12% were overweight, there is a higher risk of affecting them by diet related NCDs. The above findings suggest a need for health education programs that promote healthy eating habits and lifestyle for university students.
How to Cite: Jayasinghe, J.M.J.K. & De Silva, L.P.U., (2014). Fast Food Consumption and Health Status of Students of a University in Sri Lanka. Journal of Food and Agriculture. 7(1-2), pp.38–50. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/jfa.v7i1-2.5192
Published on 28 Dec 2014.
Peer Reviewed

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