Fast food can be known as food that can be served and prepared quickly. For example, French fries, fried chicken, hamburgers, nuggets and pizza. In Malaysia, there are many fast food restaurants such as Pizza Hut, Texas Chicken, KFC, McDonald, Burger King, and others. In the recent year, the level of consumption on fast food has increase rapidly and fast food restaurants can be found in almost every corner. This is because the price of fast food is much cheaper than a proper meal and fast food taste better than proper meal. Furthermore, fast food is more convenient, and it can help students to save more time as students do not have enough time to complete their homework or assignments. Moreover, people do not have to waste their precious time in queuing in restaurant as nowadays there are drive-thru provided in fast food restaurant. A study has shown that in the year of 2017 in Malaysia, people who eat fast food 1 to 3 times per week is 36.79% and people who eat fast food 1 to 3 times per week is 38.95%. From this statistic, we can know that the level of consumption on fast food is increasing.
If a student eats fast food regularly, they will face health problems such as high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, coronary diseases, diabetes and obesity. This is because these foods contain high calories, fats, salt, cholesterol, and sugar. Furthermore, if a student eats fast food regularly, the student’s body mass index (BMI) will be higher than a student who did not eat fast food regularly as the intake of fats in fast food is too high. For instance, students who consume large amount of fast food in a week will have the higher chance form getting BMI greater than 24.90 which is consider as overweight or obese or extremely obese. This happen is because base on study, chemical additives such as MSG will lead to weight increase. However, there is not enough evidence to say that consumption on fast food will bring effect to student’s BMI.
Statement of problem
According to Rachel Kelly, author of The Happiness Diet, eating fast food will bring negative impact on people’s emotions. This is because trans fats that consist in fast food such as nuggets will reduce the level of omega-3 fatty acids in the body. Base on research, this will lead to a person will have bad mood. For example, depression, aggression, and pessimism. In addition, researches in Australia found that people who eat many fast foods will have shrunken hippocampus and if people have depression will have a smaller hippocampus.
Moreover, based on urology depart of the King George’s Medical University (KGMU), consumption on fast food will cause student have kidney stone. This is because Dr S.N. Shankhwar, head of urology department said that fast food contain high level of sodium which lead to formation of stones in the kidney.
However, these findings are too small and have no apparent on effect of consumption on fast food will affect student’s BMI. Therefore, more research has to be conducted.
Purpose of study
The purpose of this research is focusing on the relationship between consumption on fast food and student’s BMI.
- Does consumption on fast food will affect student’s BMI?
- Why consumption on fast food will affect student’s BMI?
Fast Food Industry
To investigate the growth of fast food industry, the researcher collected findings from various sources and analysed the findings. Fickenscher (2017) noted that based on New York Post, the fast food industry was growing faster than the United States economy. She claimed that the fast food restaurant’s sales rise greater than 3% while the US economy did not increase more than 3% a year in the past 10 years. Wang, Wang, Xue, and Qu (2016) performed a study in 2013 that there were over two million fast food restaurants operate in China. This was because fast food industry grew dramatically as there were powerful marketing plans by the fast food industry and developments of China’s economy. Beside that, since 1990, many American fast food enterprises wanted to expand the fast food industry by entering Chinese market. Based on Wang, Wang, Xue, and Qu (2016), the revenues for fast food industry in China was around $94.2 billion in 2013. This large amount of revenues shows that fast food industry growth rapidly.
As time goes by, Fast Food Industry Profile Japan (2012) proved that the revenues that earned by McDonald’s in Japan was rising as the revenues earned in 2006 was $20,895.20 million and revenues earned in 2009 was $24,075 million. In the other hand, pre-school age youngsters who were exposed to kid-targeted fast food advertising on TV tend to be more likely to consume fast food (Dalton et al., 2017) This study proved it with an example in 2009 which was the fast food industry spent more than $580 million for marketing and their target were the children who aged 2-11 years in United State. (The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, 2017).
Contents of Fast Food
Students usually get obesity easily because they consume a lot of fast food. For example, a small portion of hamburger from McDonald consist of 540 calories and one small French fries consists of 380 calories, total calories for lunch meal is 920 calories which already exceed the calories for an average meal (US FDA NLEA, 2014). Besides that, fast food also contains a lot of chemical additives such as MSG, tartrazine, artificial colouring and preservatives which are harmful to human’s body (Rajveer & Monika, 2012). Pandey and Upadhyay (2012) asserted that preservatives and chemical additives will cause hyperactivity and Attention Deficit Disorder to those people who are sensitive to chemical. For instance, the researchers claimed that caramel will cause genetic defects and cancer. Moreover, hamburgers in McDonald consist of hydrogenated oils which will cause heart disease, blood clots and stroke (Goldman, 2018). She explained that McDonald’s chicken nuggets consist of tertiary butylhydroquinone where this element is derived from petroleum which will have impact on lungs, nervous system, reproductive organs and liver (Goldman, 2018). Al-Hazzaa, Abahussain, Al-Sobayel, Qahwaji and Musaiger (2011) said that the beginning periods in the juvenility of youth was very important for a human life as this stage was the one where a particular’s lifestyles were formed and become established. Thus, if individual consume more fast food, then individual might have health problems in the future.
According to Healey (2014), fast food and take-away outlet including fried chicken, fries and hamburgers contained high saturated fat as the price for this kind of fat was cheap and resist high cooking temperature.
Therefore, these previous studies that done by the researcher proved that fast food contained various kind of unhealthy ingredients. On the other hand, they also agreed that these unhealthy ingredients that contain in fast food will only harm individual’s health.
Measuring Body Mass Index (BMI)
A research by Nuttall (2015) pointed out that body mass index was used to define anthropometric height or weight feature in adults and used to categorizing them into different category. He found that BMI consist of 4 categories which were underweight, normal, overweight, and obese. Moreover, BMI was important as health risk was associated with being overweight (Mercadal, 2015). She emphasized that based on several medical studies, overweight or obese will cause health problems, death, hypertension, and chronic disease. Thus, BMI was a perfect measurement to estimate an individual’s healthy weight range and often used by medical personnel. She also claimed that several athletes have high BMI although they were healthy. This happened because their muscle increased the mass. For instance, a footballer who called Sonny Bill Williams BMI was consider as overweight as his BMI was 29 (Edens, 2017).
Allen et al. (2007) stated that Latina/o youth used to consume large amount of sweet foods and drinks and consume less amount of vegetables. These unhealthy diets will cause Latina/o youths’ having risk to become obese (BMI greater and equal to 30-34.9) or overweight (BMI is between 25 to 29.9).
The researchers concluded that using body mass index (BMI) to measure individual’s fatness are consider as accurate but it is not very accurate to measure athletes.
Previous Studies That Link Consumption on Fast Food and Body Weight
In the news article “Why fast food makes you get fat” (2003), fast food will rise an individual’s weight and cause obesity. This happened because fast food was very dense in calories said by experts from Medical Research Council. Thus, your calories intake will rise dramatically once you consume small portion of fast food. Besides that, in this news, Professor Andrew Prentice from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medical said that human bodies were never intended to adapt to foods with high energy density.
Furthermore, there is another study that proved that high consumption on fast food were directly correlate with weight increase (Garcia, Sunil, & Hinoiosa, 2012). This is because based on the table in this study, the probability between individual who consumed fast food 7 days or more than 7 days per week and super morbidly obese (BMI is 50 or more) was 0.461, where this amount was higher than individual who consumed fast food less than 7 per week.
Through these past researches, we able to further understand that the effect of consumption on fast food towards an individual’s body mass index (BMI). Next, based on these past studies, it can be shown that there is a perfect linear relationship between consumption on fast food and body weight of an individual.
There will be total 40 students who currently studying in secondary school or colleges or universities in Malaysia participated in this study. Out of these 40 students, there were 22 females and 18 males. The main reason on why the researcher used students in secondary school or college/universities to participate in answering the survey questions is because the age range was similar as the topic’s age range which is age 15 to 25. Besides that, secondary school students and college or universities students were targeted for this study because they are considering the group of fast food goers. All participants data will be collected between November and December 2018.
The researcher will use online survey such as Google Forms to collect data and all the questions in the survey were designed by the researcher. The survey consists of 2 sections and 11 questions. The first section was about basic demographic such as age, gender, weight, height and the second section focused on student’s fast food consumption pattern, frequency of consumption on fast food, reason on why students choose to eat fast food and how often do students exercise in a week. Besides that, question like how often the students eat fast food per week was mentioned in this survey was because the survey wanted to prove that how consumption on fast food affect the student’s body mass index (BMI).
The researcher will use body mass index (BMI) to determine obesity of students. BMI obtain from body weight divided by the square of body height in meters. The BMI consist of 5 categories. The first category is underweight (BMI35). Moreover, the consumption on fast food was measured in terms of how many days the participants eat fast food per week.
In the beginning, the researcher will start to set 11 questions in this survey. Next, the researcher distributed the questionnaires on 30 November 2018 to 40 students who are currently studying in secondary school or colleges or universities in Malaysia through social media such as WhatsApp and they will be answering all the questions that given in the Google Form. The researcher will be given 1 week to collect all the data then the researcher will start to analyse the data based on all the evidence that given by the participants.
Results and Discussion
The major purpose of this research was to observe the relationship between consumption on fast food and student’s body mass index (BMI). In this study, the researcher collected 40 responses and analysed it in order to answer the research questions, which are:
- Does consumption on fast food will affect student’s BMI?
- Why consumption on fast food will affect student’s BMI?
Based on diagram I, it was clearly showed that most of the students like to eat hamburger out of others fast food choices, which were 12 students out of 40 students (30%). The reason why hamburger get the highest vote is because hamburger is more balance diet compare with other fast food as hamburger consists of protein, vitamin, mineral, fibre, calcium, and carbohydrate (Frem,2017). Moreover, in diagram I, the least favourite fast food among the students who age 15 to 25 was fried chicken.
According to diagram II, the researcher can say that there are several reasons on why students like to consume fast food. For instance, based on the pie chart, there were 45% of students said that it was because of its taste. This will happen is because fast food contains large amount of chemical substance which will enhance the taste of the fast food. As discussed previously, chemical substances such as MSG will help to enhance the taste of the food (Rajveer & Monika, 2012). Form the diagram II, the researcher can claim that the students prefer to consume fast food is because it is convenient. This happened because nowadays most of the fast food restaurant such as McDonald and KFC provide drive-thru service. Besides form having drive-thru service, the waiting time for meal preparation also consider as short compare with other restaurants.
It is also interesting to state that there were 3 students who stated that their main reason for choosing fast food to consume was because the price of fast food cheap. This is because nowadays, the price of one meal in fast food restaurant is increasing rapidly. Patton (2018) proved that the price for hamburger have jumped 54 percent over the last decade to around $6.95 which surpass overall United States price inflation.
As stated in diagram III, there were huge number of students emphasized that consumption on fast food will cause obesity. A total of 35 students said “yes” to this statement, while 1 student said “no” and 4 students said “maybe” to this statement. According to past studies, there was one study found that consumption on small portion of fast food will cause individual’s calories intake increase dramatically (“Why fast food makes you get fat,” 2003).
In diagram IV, the researcher can claim that students who age 15 to 25 do not like to exercise because the highest number of exercises that done by the students in a week was 1 to 2 days which is 18 students. The reason why students do not like to exercise regularly is because Norton (2016) mentioned that students do not have time when they get heavier homework loads and nowadays students usually spend more time on their cell phones and computers. Furthermore, students do not like to exercise because they do not like to sweat, they think that exercise is very troublesome, and they feel that exercise is very boring. In addition, most of the students think that exercise is painful as after doing exercise it will cause muscle pain. This muscle pain is caused by inflammation within the muscle, which is one of the major triggers for this muscle soreness. (Krum, n.d., para. 3).
From the above graph, the researcher found that there is a strong positive linear relationship between number of consumptions on fast food per week and body mass index. The reason is because the r= 0.89, which also means that the higher the number of consumptions on fast food, the higher the student’s body mass index.
Past studies have found that fast food contains huge amount of saturated oils or hydrogenated oils which will cause blood clots (Goldman, 2018). Thus, the researcher believes that this relationship exists because student who consume more fast food per week tend to get higher body mass index which also lead to overweight or obese.
The result that get from diagram V is almost similar with the previous past studies that mentioned in the literature review because it shows positive relationship between consumption on fast food and body mass index.
In this study, the researcher learnt how to complete a research regarding to consumption on fast food affect student’s body mass index (BMI) under the guidance that given by the lecture. Besides that, the researcher gets to know more about fast food in this study especially in the area of contents of fast food and how it brings negative impact to individual’s health. In addition, the researcher learnt how to construct different type of graph depending on different scenario so that the reader can understand easily. By doing this research, the researcher should have set more detailed question like “What is your opinion towards contents of fast food so that it could help the researcher to answer the research question.
In Malaysia, consumption on fast food has been considered a significant source of obesity. The purpose of this research is to examine the relationship between consumption on fast food and student’s BMI. To answer the first research question which is “Does consumption on fast food will affect student’s BMI”, the researcher found that there is a strong positive linear relationship between consumption on fast food and student’s BMI. Thus, the researcher concludes that consumption on fast food will affect student’s BMI. The researcher also found that student will get high BMI is because they did not exercise regularly after they consume fast food.
Apart from that, there were few limitations in this research. The first limitation that occur in this research is this study was conducted only among the students who age 15 to 25. Therefore, it will cause the result not fully accurate. Secondly, in this research, the researcher only collected 40 data which also will cause the result inadequate. Thirdly, all the data were collected through online which cause some of the students might provide dishonest or false answers. For instance, participants might select fake weight and height as they do not want others to know about their true weight and height. Lastly, another limitation that was found in this study is the time that given to accomplish this research was too short. Consequently, the researcher might not include more details information into this study.
The benefit to conduct this research is it can help to raise awareness to society as the readers get to know consumption on fast food will cause obesity. Moreover, the second advantage is readers will decrease their consumption on fast food in order to avoid form getting obesity in their life.
The researcher hopes that the future studies will consider the limitations that stated in this study and solve it. In order to get a perfect result, researchers should use survey paper and distribute to participants rather than using online survey form. Besides that, past studies should measure the participant’s weight and height personally in order to get unbiased data. Additionally, future research should also expand the number of participants so that the result will not occur skewness in the graph. Finally, future studies must also conduct experiments so that it will have control group and experimental group which will show a better and unbiased result.
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