Fast-food consumption among US adults and children: dietary and nutrient intake profile

J Am Diet Assoc. 2003 Oct;103(10):1332-8. doi: 10.1016/s0002-8223(03)01086-1.


Objective: To examine the dietary profile associated with fast-food use. To compare the dietary intake of individuals on the day that they ate fast food with the day that fast food was not eaten.

Design: Cross-sectional study design. The dietary intake of individuals who reported eating fast food on one or both survey days was compared with those who did not report eating fast food. Among the individuals who reported eating fast food, dietary intake on the day when fast food was eaten was compared with the day when fast food was not eaten. Weighted comparison of mean intakes and pairwise t-test were used in the statistical analysis. Subjects/setting Data from 17370 adults and children who participated in the 1994-1996 and 1998 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals. Dietary intake data were collected by 2 non-consecutive 24-hour dietary recalls.

Results: Fast-food use was reported by 37% of the adults and 42% of the children. Adults and children who reported eating fast food had higher intake of energy, fat, saturated fat, sodium, carbonated soft drink, and lower intake of vitamins A and C, milk, fruits and vegetables than those who did not reported eating fast food (P<.001). Similar differences were observed among individuals between the day when fast food was eaten and the day when fast food was not eaten.

Conclusions: Consumers should be aware that consumption of high-fat fast food may contribute to higher energy and fat intake, and lower intake of healthful nutrients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Carbonated Beverages
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet
  • Diet Surveys
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Energy Intake*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Mental Recall
  • Middle Aged
  • Restaurants*
  • United States
  • Vitamins / administration & dosage*


  • Dietary Fats
  • Vitamins