America Loves Fast Food

Eight in 10 eat it at least once a week, surveys find

Americans love fast food — even if they can afford meals that aren’t prepackaged in grease-resistant wrappers, according to a new study.

The study found that Americans of all economic classes eat fast food. Middle-income Americans are the most likely to eat fast food, but only by a slight margin from other income groups. Even the wealthiest Americans admit to eating fast food, trailing other groups by just a bit, the researchers said.

“It’s not mostly poor people eating fast food in America,” said study co-author Jay Zagorsky, a research scientist at Ohio State University’s Center for Human Resource Research.

“Rich people may have more eating options, but that’s not stopping them from going to places like McDonald’s or KFC,” he said in a university news release.

The study included information from a national survey. The researchers zeroed in on roughly 8,000 people who were questioned about their weekly fast food intake in 2008, 2010 and 2012.

The participants, who were all middle-aged, were asked how many times they had eaten food from a fast food restaurant, such as McDonald’s, KFC or Taco Bell, in the past seven days.

The answers were then compared to questions about their wealth and income. The study found that the fondness for fast food transcends economic classes and is shared by rich and poor alike.

Overall, the researchers found that 79 percent of the participants ate fast food at least once a week.