, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 810-818
Date: 22 Jan 2012

The Fast Food and Obesity Link: Consumption Patterns and Severity of Obesity

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Abstract

Background

Rates of extreme forms of obesity are rapidly rising, as is the use of bariatric surgery for its treatment. The aim of the present study was to examine selected behavioral factors associated with severity of obesity among preoperative bariatric surgery patients in the San Antonio area, focusing specifically on the effects of fast food consumption.

Methods

We used ordered logistic regression to model behavioral and attitudinal effects on obesity outcomes among 270 patients. These outcomes were based on the severity of obesity and were measured on the basis of body mass index.

Results

Our results indicated that, among the behavioral factors, fast food consumption exerted the largest influence on higher levels of obesity. These remained after controlling for several social and demographic characteristics.

Conclusions

Our findings suggest that higher rates of fast food consumption are connected to the increasing rates of severe obesity. Given that morbid and super morbid obesity rates are growing at a more advanced pace than moderate obesity, it is necessary to explore the behavioral characteristics associated with these trends.

An earlier version of this paper was presented in a poster session at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America, Washington, DC, USA, 31 March 2011.