202542 Who Eats Fast Food? Characteristics of Frequent Fast-Food Consumers among Utah Tongan Americans

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 3:00 PM

Fahina Pasi, BS , National Tongan American Society, Salt Lake City, UT
Ivoni Nash, BS , National Tongan American Society, Salt Lake City, UT
Brenda Ralls, PhD , Utah Diabetes Prevention and Control Program, Utah Department of Health, Salt Lake City, UT
Introduction: About 27% of all meals in the U.S. are eaten away from home, a good proportion of which are purchased at fast food restaurants. Fast food consumption is linked to obesity and related health problems. Pacific Islanders have high rates of obesity. The National Tongan American Society (NTAS), based in Salt Lake City, invests considerable resources in improving health and reducing obesity among Pacific Islanders in Utah. Anecdotal information suggests that fast food consumption is a major contributor to obesity in this population. Methods: In 2008, NTAS conducted the “Healthy Living in the Tongan American Community Survey” to better understand demographic and lifestyle-related links to obesity rates among its community members. This study was limited to Tongan adults, aged 18 and over (n=347). Logistic regression and cross-tabulations were used in the analyses. Findings: More than half (54.2%) of respondents were obese (BMI 30+). Two-fifths (42.7%) reported consuming fast food three or more times a week (frequent consumers). Unadjusted odds for obesity among frequent consumers were twice (2.0) that for less frequent consumers (p<.01). Characteristics significantly associated with frequent consumption included: (1) engagement in physical activity less than three times a week, (2) living in households with seven or more residents, (3) being under age 35, (4) being U.S.-born, and (5) regularly consuming either sugar-sweetened or diet soft drinks. Conclusions: Obesity is a complex issue, but identifying one lifestyle behavior and understanding it in depth helps increase the effectiveness of interventions and healthy-choice community education, as promoted by NTAS.

Learning Objectives:
Participants will understand the link between fast-food consumption and obesity among Utah Tongan Americans. Participants will learn characteristics associated with frequent fast-food consumption. Participants will be aware of interventions developed to increase healthy food choices.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the executive director for the National Tongan American Society, and am responsible for overseeing interventions, public relations, seeking funding and community education.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.