Trends of fast food consumption among adolescent and young adult Saudi girls living in Riyadh
Background: Saudi Arabia has passed through lifestyle changes toward unhealthy dietary patterns such as high fast food consumption. Adolescents and young adults, particularly girls, are the main groups exposed to and affected by these adverse eating behaviors.
Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the trends of fast food consumption among adolescent and young adult Saudi girls living in Riyadh, and to compare between them.
Design: In a cross-sectional survey, 127 adolescent Saudi girls (13–18 years) and 69 young adult Saudi girls (19–29 years) were randomly recruited to participate in this study. Weight, height, waist circumference, and hip circumference were measured using standardized methods. Twenty-four-hour diet recall and a face-to-face interview food questionnaire were performed.
Results: Most of the participants had adequate intake of protein, riboflavin, iron, and sodium, but exhibited low intake for several other nutrients. Among study participants, 95.4% consume restaurants’ fast food and 79.1% eat fast food at least once weekly. Burgers and carbonated soft drinks were the main kinds of fast food meals and beverages usually eaten by girls. Adolescent girls who usually ate large portion sizes of fast food had significantly higher mean waist circumference and hip circumference. Participants eat fast food primarily for enjoying the delicious taste, followed by convenience. Restaurants’ hygiene and safety standards were the main concern regarding fast food for 62.2% of girls. Finally, international restaurants were preferable by participants to buy fast food compared with local restaurants (70.9% vs. 29.1%).
Conclusion: Our findings provide evidence on the high prevalence of fast food consumption among Saudi girls, suggesting an urgent need for community-based nutrition interventions that consider the trends of fast food consumption and targeted eating behaviors of adolescent and young adult girls.
Keywords: fast food; restaurants; adolescent; young adult; Saudi Arabia
Responsible Editor: Seppo Salminen, University of Turku, Finland.
Citation: Food & Nutrition Research 2015, 59: 26488 - http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/fnr.v59.26488
Authors retain copyright of their work, with first publication rights granted to SNF Swedish Nutrition Foundation. Read the full Copyright- and Licensing Statement.