Dr. Liang Wang, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, has published an article with his obesity research team, “A Review of the Growth of the Fast Food Industry in China and Its Potential Impact on Obesity”, in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Dr. Wang’s co-authors include Drs. Youfa Wang and Hong Xue, professors in the Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health at the University at Buffalo, and Dr. Weidong Qu, Associate Dean and Professor in the Department of Environmental Safety at Fudan University in Shanghai.
The authors examined the fast food industry in China, the key factors contributing to the growth of fast food in China, and the association between fast food consumption and obesity. Factors contributing to the growth and demand of fast food in China were found to be increased income, urbanization, busier lifestyle, speedy fast food service, assurance of food safety, and new brands.
Their research shows that fast food revenue in China has increased from roughly $10.5 billion in 1999 to $94.2 billion in 2013. Assuming that the trend continues, the authors used a linear regression model to project that fast food revenue would increase to $190.1 billion in 2030. Parallel to the increase in fast food revenue, the prevalence of obese and overweight adults in China rose from 20% in 1992 to 30% in 2002 and to 42% in 2012. The association between the two is discussed using studies in the article.
The findings of this study emphasize the need to address the health consequences of increasing fast food consumption in China, by government regulation and public health education.
The study is the result of a U54 center partnership funded in part by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health.