Objective: To examine demographic, behavioral and dietary correlates of frequency of fast food restaurant use in a community-based sample of 891 adult women.
Design: A survey was administered at baseline and 3 y later as part of a randomized, prospective intervention trial on weight gain prevention.
Subjects: Women (n = 891) aged 20-45 y who enrolled in the Pound of Prevention study.
Measurements: Frequency of fast food restaurant use, dietary intake, demographic and behavioral measures were self-reported. Dietary intake was measured using the 60-item Block Food Frequency Questionnaire. Body weight and height were directly measured.
Results: Twenty-one percent of the sample reported eating > or = 3 fast food meals per week. Frequency of fast food restaurant use was associated with higher total energy intake, higher percentage fat energy, more frequent consumption of hamburgers, French fries and soft drinks, and less frequent consumption of fiber and fruit. Frequency of fast food restaurant use was higher among younger women, those with lower income, non-White ethnicity, greater body weight, lower dietary restraint, fewer low-fat eating behaviors, and greater television viewing. Over 3 y, increases in frequency of fast food restaurant use were associated with increases in body weight, total energy intake, percentage fat intake, intake of hamburgers, French fries and soft drinks, and with decreases in physical activity, dietary restraint and low-fat eating behaviors. Intake of several other foods, including fruits and vegetables, did not differ by frequency of fast food restaurant use.
Conclusion: Frequency of fast food restaurant use is associated with higher energy and fat intake and greater body weight, and could be an important risk factor for excess weight gain in the population.