Assessment of Consumption Pattern and Awareness of Fast/Instant Foods among University Students in Sri Lanka
Mihiri Munasinghe, J. A. E. C. Jayawardena, Rumesh Liyanage, K. G. S. C. Katukurunda
Fast foods, instant foods, consumption, university students
Changing dietary patterns have led the people to consume more convenient foods including fast/instant foods. Purpose of this study was to assess consumption pattern and awareness of fast/ instant foods by Sri Lankan university students. A survey was conducted and data collected from randomly selected 150 students aged 20-27 years representing four graduate faculties (Science, Medical Science, Management Studies, and Arts) in university of Sri Jayewardenepura using a questionnaire. The trend towards fast/instant foods, mostly consume such food types, awareness for labeled information of fast/instant foods, and beliefs and attitudes on associated health risks of fast/instant foods were determined. Majority (more than 50%) consume fast/instant foods for their main diets (70%), additional diets (89.2%) as well as for desserts (62.5%). According to them, prominent reason for selecting fast/instant foods was the convenience in preparation (36.7%). In buying such foods, no faculty wise (knowledge based) significant difference (P>0.05) was there among the students on the attention paid for the food label. The aspect on which they pay the least attention in buying such food was nutritional composition (60%). Students from the faculty of Applied Sciences have the highest awareness for labeled information related to health. A considerable proportion (95%) of students have gained an awareness regarding the health risks of fast/ instant foods and also such high proportion (85%) practically implement that awareness positively in their buying decisions of such foods.