Fast food (FF) consumption increased dramatically through the 1990s in the USA, accounting for nearly 35.5 percent of total away‐from‐home expenditures in 1999. Given dramatic changes in food consumption, and heightened public concern about health and obesity, there is a considerable need for research to understand better the factors affecting US FF consumption. This paper aims to fill this gap.
In this paper, logistic regression is applied to analyze the socioeconomic and demographic factors influencing the likelihood of consuming FF using United States Department of Agriculture data from the Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals from 1994 to 1996 and the Supplemental Children's Survey of 1998.
In general, the expected likelihood of FF consumption increases until around 20‐30 years of age and then decreases; increases as household income grows until about $50,000‐60,000 and then decreases; and decreases as household size grows. Further, males from the Midwest and South regions that live outside central cities in Metropolitan Statistical Areas have the highest likelihood of consuming FF.
While much literature has addressed key questions about expenditure on food away from home, this study complements previous work by focusing on food items consumed from FF facilities in the 1990s. In addition, the results find highly significant and important (statistically and economically) interactions between the likelihood of FF consumption and age, income, and household size.
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