Health Promotion & Knowledge Management

Creating Awareness on Health Effects of Fast food

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What Is Fast Food? 

Fast food is defined as hot food that is served very quickly in special restaurants, and often taken away to be eaten in the street.  These items are routinely sold and vary widely in food type, encompassing all kinds of meats, preparation method and ethnic cuisines.  Examples of fast foods are French fries and hamburger. There are also quick-service restaurant that provides variety of menu of Americanized Mexican, Greek, Chinese many other kinds of ethnic foods. Fried fish and shellfish, hot dogs, chicken, pizza, roast beef, and pasta are among other kind of fast foods.  Though menus and delivery formats differ greatly, fast food‘s common characteristics include immediate customer service and cheap price. 

Why is it Popular? 

  • Availability. Fast Food restaurant is everywhere.
  • Cheap. The price of fast food is relatively cheap.
  • Quick. When people feel hungry and less time to spend on eating, they will tend to buy foods that are quickly prepared.
  • Heavy marketing and TV advertising. Advertising is also a reason why fast food is getting popular. Demographics, trends, and consumer preferences are among the factors that helping these advertisements to attract many people to buy fast foods.
  • Variation. Nowadays, fast food restaurant not only provide hamburger and chips but also other kind of food to attract more people coming to their restaurant.

How can fast food affects my health? 

Tell me what you eat: I will tell you what you are,” said the French food philosopher Brillat-Savarin. What we eat is an extremely important part of our life, as what we eat is going to affect many chemical processes that happened in our body.

University students usually have less time to select, prepare, and eat food due to various factors like having a “packed” timetable or do not have simple cooking skills. For this group of people, fast foods are very tempting because they are quick, reasonably priced, and readily available. BIS Shrapnel firm research shows that fast food chains and takeaway outlets are the most popular places for buying a full meal or snack.

Somehow, they are not aware that high intake of fast food can harm their health. For instance, hot chips have high saturated fat content. A recent evidence based review stated that include a high intake of saturated fatty acids, trans fatty acids, and sodium are dietary risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.

Excessive intakes of hot chips also increase dietary fat consumption. This is a major contributor to obesity for a variety of physiological reasons. There is also a study shows that fast foods also have high energy-density than average British diet and traditional African diet. It also demonstrates inability of human to recognize foods with a high energy density and appropriately down-regulate the bulk of food eaten in order to maintain energy homeostasis. Thus, it causes passive over-consumption of fast food and gives significant contribution to excess caloric intake and to the development of obesity.

Besides that, epidemiological studies have revealed that a high total fat intake is also linked to increased rates of breast, colon, and prostate cancer. It is noted that, high fat diet influences body to secrete hormone that can create favorable environment for cancer growth.

Recently, some fast food restaurants do provide food with low calories and fat content. Thus choosing what food to eat is a crucial step in maintaining our health.


Note:Energy density is defined as the energy content per unit weight of foods, meals or diets (expressed here as kJ-1 100 g).


  1. Hornby AS. Oxford advanced learners’ dictionary. 6th ed. UK;Oxford University Press: 2000.

  2. Hogan, David Gerard. “Fast Food.” Encyclopedia of Food and Culture. Ed. Solomon H.Katz. Vol. 1. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2003. 606-609. 3 vols. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Thomson Gale. Monash Library. 8 Aug. 2006
  3. Urmil M, & Boyd S,. A review of factors affecting fat absorption in hot chips. Critical Reviews in Food Science  and Nutrition. 2001;41(2):133

  4.  Victorian Government Health Information. Cardiovascular disease & type II diabetes[homepage on the internet]. Australia, Department of Human Services; [updated 2006 March 21; cited 2006 March 30]. Available from:

  5. Prentice AM, Jebb SA. Fast foods, energy density and obesity: a possible mechanistic link. Obesity review. 2003; 4: 187–194
  6. Diet and disease [homepage on the internet]. America: A.D.A.M. Inc; [updated 2003 October 17; cited 2006 August 12]     Available from:


One Response to “FAST FOODS”

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