Deborah Lown Ph.D.


The objectives of this study were to determine how often Grand Valley State University (GVSU) students’ frequent fast food restaurants, as well as look at the different fast food establishments in the surrounding campus area in an effort to expose the most patronized types of fast food. The main goal was then to investigate patterns between males and females related to menu choices and taste perceptions as well as the most prominent types of influences related to the nutritional, social, and emotional motives behind fast-food outings and purchases. Surveys were distributed to 49 males and 47 females (full-time, traditional college students between the ages of 18-24). Chi-square tests were used to explore differences in proportions by gender. No significant difference (P>0.5) was seen between gender as to the frequency of breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack eaten at a fast-food restaurant. Females (38%) were significantly (P<0.001) more likely to order smaller portion sizes as compared to males (6.1%), whereas 18.4% of males compared to 2.1% of females ordered large portion sizes. In regards to the extent to which nutrition information influenced their fast-food selection, females more often selected most of the time (27.7%) than males (12.2%), and males more often selected not at all (28.6%) than females (0%). Results indicate that there were significant gender differences in regards to the types restaurants frequented, motivations for food selection as well as portion size. Females were found to be more health-conscious than males when purchasing food at fast-food restaurants.