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Fast-food culture – Prevalence, pattern, and preference trends and its association with body mass index of medical students

 Department of Community Medicine, AFMC, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Arun Kumar Yadav,
Department of Community Medicine, AFMC, Pune - 411 040, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jmms.jmms_36_22

Background: Fast-food culture is an uprising trend among the younger age groups. Stressful life due to increased study load, staying away from home, peculiar working hours, etc., negatively influences the food choices of medical students. Hence, this study was conducted to describe the prevalence, pattern, and preferences of fast-food consumption and also to determine the relationship of frequency of fast food with body mass index (BMI) of students of a medical college in Western Maharashtra. Methods: A cross-sectional study was done among 398 students of a medical college in Pune for 6 months. The data collection was done using a self-administered pretested structured questionnaire and analyzed using Microsoft Excel and SPSS version 20 software. Results: Three hundred and ninety-eight medical students responded. We found a 100% prevalence of fast-food consumption with different frequencies. 13.8% of the students were found to be overweight. Pizza was the most frequently consumed fast food. The taste factor was the most common reason to consume fast food among both sexes. The majority of the study participants (98.5%) were aware that fast foods are hazardous to health. A statistically significant association was found between the frequency of consumption of fast food with the type of diet (P = 0.008) and BMI (P = 0.023). Conclusion: High prevalence and preference for fast-food consumption can result in various noncommunicable diseases among students of the medical profession and is a major concern. Thus, there is a need for educating the students regarding nutritional information and counseling to bridge the gap between their knowledge and practice about healthy eating behavior.

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