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Public Health. 2016 Jul;136:87-93. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2016.03.019. Epub 2016 Jun 9.

Identifying factors associated with fast food consumption among adolescents in Beijing China using a theory-based approach.

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Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Marywood University, 2300 Adams Ave, Scranton, PA, 18509, USA. Electronic address:
Department of Health and Sport Science, University of Dayton, 300 College Park, Dayton, OH, 45469, USA. Electronic address:
Department of Exercise Science and Sport, University of Scranton, 800 Linden St., Scranton, PA, 18510, USA. Electronic address:



China is in the midst of the nutrition transition with increasing rates of obesity and dietary changes. One contributor is the increase in fast food chains within the country. The purpose of this study was to develop a theory-based instrument that explores influencing factors of fast food consumption in adolescents residing in Beijing, China.


Cross-sectional study.


Value expectancy and theory of planned behaviour were utilised to explore influencing factors of fast food consumption in the target population. There were 201 Chinese adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18. Cronbach's alpha correlation coefficients were used to examine internal reliability of the theory-based questionnaire. Bivariate correlations and a MANOVA were utilised to determine the relationship between theory-based constructs, body mass index (BMI)-for-age and fast food intake frequency as well as to determine differences in theory-based scores among fast food consumption frequency groupings.


The theory-based questionnaire showed good reliability. Furthermore, there was a significant difference in the theory-based subcategory scores between fast food frequency groups. A significant positive correlation was observed between times per week fast food was consumed and each theory-based subscale score. Using BMI-for-age of 176 participants, 81% were normal weight and 19% were considered overweight or obese. Results showed consumption of fast food to be on average 1.50 ± 1.33 per week. The relationship between BMI-for-age and times per week fast food was consumed was not significant.


As the nutrition transition continues and fast food chains expand, it is important to explore factors effecting fast food consumption in China. Interventions targeting influencing factors can be developed to encourage healthy dietary choice in the midst of this transition.


Adolescent; Childhood obesity; Chinese fast food chains; Dietary changes; Nutrition transition; Western fast food chains

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