One thing Unites Americans: Love of Fast Food
A new study revealed that Americans in all economic classes eat fast food, debunking the popular notion that it is mostly eaten by the poor.
According to a study conducted by a research scientist from The Ohio State University’s Center for Human Resource Research, middle-income Americans were most likely to eat fast food, although the differences from other groups was relatively small. Even the richest people were only slightly less likely to report fast food consumption than others.
Jay Zagorsky, co-author of the study, said, “It’s not mostly poor people eating fast food in America. Rich people may have more eating options, but that’s not stopping them from going to places like McDonald’s or KFC.”
The Study and Key Results
The researchers used data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, which has questioned the same group of randomly selected Americans since 1979.
In the study, the researchers used data from about 8,000 people who were asked about their fast-food consumption in 2008, 2010 and 2012. The participants of the study included only people in their 40s or 50s who were asked how many times in the past seven days they had eaten from prominent fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s.
Here are the surprising results:
The researchers found that 79 percent of respondents ate fast food at least once and 23 percent ate three or more meals during any one of the weeks recorded in the study.
With regards to income of the respondent and the times they ate fast food, the researchers found that about 80 percent of those in the lowest 10 percent of income ate at least once at a fast-food restaurant, compared to about 85 percent of those who were ranked near the middle (40 to 50 percent) in terms of income. Of the richest 10 percent, about 75 percent reported eating at least one fast-food meal.
The number of fast-food meals eaten during the three weeks of the study showed a similar pattern. The lowest 10 percent in terms of income ate about 3.6 fast-food meals during the three weeks of the survey, compared to about 4.2 meals for middle-income people and three meals for the richest 10 percent of participants.
In addition, the researchers found that even if people became richer or poorer, it didn’t change how much fast food they ate.