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Awareness of Health Implications of Junk Food on Students of Imo State University Owerri

Awareness of Health Implications of Junk Food on Students of Imo State University Owerri

Awareness of Health Implications of Junk Food on Students of Imo State University Owerri

Chapter One

Objectives of the Study

  1. To assess the level of awareness among students at Imo State University, Owerri, regarding the health implications of consuming junk food.
  2. To examine the factors influencing students’ choices in favour of junk food despite knowledge of its adverse health effects.
  3. To recommend strategies for enhancing awareness and promoting healthier dietary choices among students.



Conceptual Review

Junk Food Consumption Patterns among University Students

Junk food consumption patterns among university students represent a critical area of investigation, with far-reaching implications for health and well-being. The prevalence of these dietary habits has been studied globally, providing valuable insights into the multifaceted nature of the issue in Saudi Arabia, Shori, Albaik, and Bokhari (2017) explored fast food consumption, revealing a noteworthy association between increased body mass index and frequent indulgence in unhealthy food choices. Similarly, Banik, Naher, Pervez, and Hossain (2020) conducted a cross-sectional study in Bangladesh, exposing the high prevalence of fast food consumption among urban college-going adolescents. These international studies underscore the need for a localized examination of junk food consumption patterns among university students, with a specific focus on Imo State University, Owerri.

Understanding prevalent trends and patterns in junk food consumption is a fundamental step toward developing targeted interventions. Research by Jayasinghe and De Silva (2014) in Sri Lanka emphasized the significance of fast food consumption among university students and its impact on health status. The study highlighted the necessity for tailored approaches to address dietary patterns specific to the student population. A similar exploration of these patterns among students at Imo State University, Owerri, would provide valuable insights into the factors contributing to their dietary habits, facilitating the development of effective and context-specific strategies.

The consumption of junk food among university students is often influenced by various factors, including lifestyle, cultural preferences, and accessibility. Sequeira, Sowmya, Thomas, Mahajan, and Kumar (2014) conducted a study in Nigeria, shedding light on the role of these factors in shaping the behaviour of college students regarding fast food consumption. Additionally, Bakare and Olumakaiye (2016) explored the consumption patterns and body weight status of students at Obafemi Awolowo University, offering insights into the relationship between dietary habits and health outcomes. Examining these factors among students at Imo State University, Owerri is crucial for tailoring interventions that address the specific dynamics of their environment and culture.

Moreover, studies have indicated a concerning trend of increased fast food consumption among youth populations in Nigeria (Adebayo et al., 2022; Chinaza et al., 2019). Laudia, Adenike, Funke, and Oluseyi (2013) investigated the fast food consumption patterns among youth in the Ogbomoso Metropolis of Oyo State, emphasizing the need for targeted educational campaigns to address this alarming trend. Similar efforts may be required at Imo State University, Owerri, to mitigate the rising prevalence of junk food consumption among students.

In summary, delving into the patterns of junk food consumption among university students, as denoted by the references, is essential for understanding the broader landscape of unhealthy dietary habits. The global insights provided by studies in Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nigeria underscore the need for localized investigations. Analyzing the specific patterns among students at Imo State University, Owerri, will contribute to the existing body of knowledge and facilitate the development of tailored interventions to promote healthier dietary choices among this student population.

Health Implications of Junk Food

Investigating the documented health consequences associated with the consumption of junk food, including obesity, cardiovascular issues, and other related health concerns, is crucial for comprehending the full scope of the impact of unhealthy dietary habits among university students.

Numerous studies have highlighted the adverse health effects linked to the consumption of junk food. Smith, Blizzard, McNaughton, Gall, Dwyer, and Venn (2012) conducted Research on takeaway food consumption and its association with cardio-metabolic risk factors in young adults, revealing a correlation between frequent fast food intake and negative health outcomes. Similarly, studies conducted in Saudi Arabia by Shori, Albaik, and Bokhari (2017) identified fast food consumption as a risk factor for weight gain and obesity. Examining these documented health consequences is essential to underscore the urgency of addressing unhealthy dietary patterns among university students.

Moreover, investigations into the health implications of junk food consumption extend beyond physical health. Adebayo et al. (2022) embarked on the TERRACE study, exploring the psychosocial issues related to anthropometry on a university campus. This study contributes to the understanding of how junk food consumption may influence not only physical health but also the overall well-being and psychological aspects of students. Assessing these documented consequences is imperative for developing holistic interventions that address both the physical and psychological dimensions of health.

Understanding the specific health implications is crucial for raising awareness among university students. Arulogun and Owolabi (2011) conducted Research on fast food consumption patterns among undergraduates of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Their findings suggested a need for nutrition education programs tailored to address the health implications of fast food consumption.




Introduction Research

This chapter outlines the methodology employed to achieve the objectives of the study, drawing on established Research philosophies and approaches. The Research design, population, sampling technique, sources and methods of data collection, data analysis, validity and reliability testing, and ethical considerations are discussed in detail.

Research Design

The chosen methodology for this study is a quantitative survey, and this selection is underpinned by its capacity to efficiently gather large-scale data, particularly suited for an in-depth examination of the awareness surrounding health implications linked to the consumption of junk food within a sizable population of Imo State University students (Saunders et al., 2019). According to Saunders et al. (2019), the survey design is well-regarded for its ability to facilitate standardized data collection, ensuring a consistent approach and enabling subsequent statistical analysis. This methodological choice is intricately tied to the study’s overarching objective, which seeks to quantitatively assess both the prevalence of junk food consumption and the levels of awareness among the student population.

The robustness of a quantitative survey design lies in its systematic approach to data collection, which aligns with the need for a standardized methodology to capture a comprehensive understanding of health implications associated with junk food consumption (Saunders et al., 2019). This methodology enables the collection of data on a range of variables, fostering a structured exploration of factors influencing dietary habits and awareness levels among university students (Anderson et al., 2020). By employing this method, the study aims to derive precise and measurable insights into the prevalence of junk food consumption, contributing to a nuanced understanding of the health implications associated with this dietary choice.

Furthermore, the survey design facilitates statistical analysis, a critical component in achieving the study’s objective of quantifying the prevalence of junk food consumption and assessing awareness levels among Imo State University students (Saunders et al., 2019). Statistical tools such as correlation and regression analysis can be employed to discern patterns, associations, and trends within the collected data, providing a rigorous and objective basis for conclusions (Creswell & Creswell, 2018). This analytical capability is pivotal in uncovering the intricate relationships between various factors, shedding light on the complex dynamics of junk food consumption patterns and their potential impact on the health awareness levels of university students.

In summary, the Research design, a quantitative survey, is a methodological choice justified by its efficiency in collecting large-scale data and its alignment with the study’s objective of quantifying the prevalence of junk food consumption and assessing awareness levels. This approach, as emphasized by Saunders et al. (2019), ensures standardized data collection, and consistency, and facilitates robust statistical analysis, ultimately enhancing the study’s ability to draw meaningful conclusions about the health implications of junk food consumption among Imo State University students.

Population of the Study

The Research design chosen for this investigation is a quantitative survey, a decision supported by its efficiency in collecting large-scale data, which is particularly pertinent for examining the awareness of health implications related to junk food consumption among Imo State University students. Saunders et al. (2019) emphasize that a survey design is adept at standardized data collection, ensuring consistency and facilitating subsequent statistical analysis. This alignment with standardized data collection methods is in harmony with the study’s overarching goal of quantifying the prevalence of junk food consumption and awareness levels (Saunders et al., 2019).

The selection of Imo State University students as the target population is justified by recognizing the university as a microcosm reflecting the challenges faced by the broader student demographic globally (Anderson et al., 2020). Imo State University, with its substantial and diverse student population, offers a representative sample that captures a comprehensive understanding of junk food consumption patterns among university students. This decision is instrumental in ensuring that the findings apply to a wider context, contributing to a more thorough comprehension of the factors influencing dietary habits (Anderson et al., 2020).

The determination of a sample size of 1200 respondents is based on the considerations of statistical significance and reliability, following the recommendations of Anderson et al. (2020). A larger sample size enhances the study’s capacity to draw meaningful and generalizable conclusions about the sentiments within the student community. This sizable sample is intended to provide a robust foundation for analysis, ensuring that the findings accurately represent the diverse perspectives and experiences prevalent among Imo State University students (Anderson et al., 2020).

In essence, the Research design, target population, and sample size have been meticulously chosen to align with the study’s overarching objective of exploring the awareness and implications of junk food consumption among Imo State University students. The survey design’s efficiency in collecting large-scale data, the recognition of the university as a microcosm, and the determination of an appropriate sample size all contribute to the study’s methodological robustness and the reliability of its findings (Saunders et al., 2019; Anderson et al., 2020).



Data Presentation




Summary of Findings

The findings of the study present a comprehensive overview of the awareness, preferences, and influencing factors related to junk food consumption among students at Imo State University. The survey, conducted among 120 respondents, provided nuanced insights into the complex dynamics of dietary choices, contributing valuable information for designing targeted interventions to promote healthier habits among the student population.

Awareness Levels and Health Implications: Table 4.5 delves into the awareness levels of students regarding the specific health risks associated with regular junk food consumption. A substantial majority (67.3%) either strongly agreed or agreed that they were aware of these health risks. This indicates a noteworthy level of awareness among students about the potential consequences of their dietary choices. It suggests that a considerable proportion of the student population recognizes the link between junk food and long-term health issues, such as obesity and cardiovascular problems.

Factors Influencing Choices: Tables 4.6 to 4.9 provide valuable insights into the factors influencing students’ choices in favor of junk food, despite knowledge of its adverse health effects. Peer pressure and social influence emerged as significant factors, with 77.9% of respondents either strongly agreeing or agreeing that these factors play a substantial role. The convenience and affordability of junk food also weighed heavily in choices, with 67.3% of respondents expressing agreement. These findings underscore the need for interventions that address the social and economic aspects influencing dietary behaviours. Moreover, the taste and immediate gratification provided by junk food were acknowledged by a majority (70.2%), indicating the importance of sensory appeal in dietary decisions.

Strategies for Enhancing Awareness: Tables 4.11 to 4.14 explored students’ perspectives on various strategies for enhancing awareness and promoting healthier dietary choices. The overwhelming support for implementing nutritional education programs (72.1% strongly agree or agree) and conducting university-sponsored awareness campaigns (80.1% strongly agree or agree) highlights the receptiveness of students to educational initiatives. Moreover, the belief that incentives or rewards could positively impact dietary choices was endorsed by a significant proportion (68.3%), suggesting that positive reinforcement mechanisms can be effective in promoting healthier options.

Demographic Insights: Tables 4.2 to 4.4 provide demographic insights into the age and gender distribution of respondents. The majority of respondents fell within the age range of 24-26 (63.5%), indicating that the study captured perspectives from a diverse group of students, including those in the later years of their undergraduate programs. Additionally, the gender distribution showed a higher representation of males (85.6%). These demographic details contribute to understanding the generalizability of the findings within the context of Imo State University.

Overall Outlook and Implications: The one-sample statistics in Table 4.15, which provide mean values for awareness, influencing factors, and strategies, further emphasize a generally positive outlook among students. The mean values suggest that, on average, students perceive a high level of awareness, acknowledge the influence of factors on their choices, and recognize the potential impact of strategies for enhancing awareness. This positive outlook provides a foundation for developing targeted interventions that resonate with the perceptions and preferences of the student population.

In conclusion, the findings of the study offer a rich tapestry of insights into the awareness, preferences, and influencing factors related to junk food consumption among students at Imo State University. The results provide a basis for the development of multifaceted interventions that address not only the health implications but also the social, economic, and sensory aspects of dietary choices. Understanding these dynamics is crucial for the formulation of effective strategies to promote healthier dietary habits and overall well-being among university students.

The hypotheses tested in this study provide valuable insights into the relationship between awareness, socioeconomic factors, effective awareness campaigns, and students’ dietary choices regarding junk food at Imo State University. The findings reject the null hypotheses, indicating that significant relationships exist between these variables.

Firstly, the rejection of the hypothesis that there is no significant relationship between the level of awareness of the health implications of junk food and students’ dietary choices suggests that awareness plays a pivotal role in shaping dietary preferences. Students who are more aware of the health risks associated with junk food are likely to make more conscious and healthier dietary choices.

Secondly, the rejection of the hypothesis that socioeconomic factors do not significantly influence students’ preferences for junk food underscores the importance of economic considerations in dietary decisions. Peer pressure, social influence, and affordability emerged as influential factors, highlighting the need to address socioeconomic aspects in interventions aimed at promoting healthier food choices.

Finally, the rejection of the hypothesis that effective awareness campaigns do not positively impact students’ dietary choices emphasizes the potential efficacy of educational initiatives. Students expressed a strong inclination toward nutritional education programs and university-sponsored awareness campaigns, indicating that well-designed interventions can influence dietary behaviours positively.

In conclusion, the study’s findings underscore the multifaceted nature of factors influencing junk food consumption among university students, emphasizing the significance of awareness, socioeconomic considerations, and effective educational campaigns in shaping healthier dietary choices. These results provide a foundation for targeted interventions and policy recommendations to promote overall well-being among the student population.


Integrate Comprehensive Nutritional Education Programs: Implementing well-structured nutritional education programs within the university curriculum can enhance students’ awareness of the health implications of junk food. These programs should cover various aspects, including the nutritional content of foods, the long-term health consequences of poor dietary choices, and strategies for maintaining a balanced diet.

Promote Affordable and Accessible Healthier Food Options: Collaborate with campus food services to ensure the availability and affordability of healthier food options. This could involve incentivizing vendors to offer nutritious alternatives, creating partnerships with local markets, or establishing on-campus initiatives that provide access to fresh and healthy foods.

Conduct Regular Awareness Campaigns: Maintain a consistent schedule for awareness campaigns on the health consequences of junk food. These campaigns could include workshops, seminars, and promotional events to engage students actively. Utilize various communication channels, such as social media, posters, and student organizations, to maximize reach.

Incorporate Peer-Led Initiatives: Implement peer-led initiatives to leverage social influence positively. Peer-led programs, such as student-led workshops or mentorship programs, can effectively communicate health messages and encourage healthier dietary choices by tapping into existing social networks among students.

Establish Healthy Campus Policies: Develop and enforce policies that promote a healthy campus environment. This could involve restricting the availability of junk food on campus, incentivizing vendors who offer healthier options, or creating designated spaces for healthier food choices.

Collaborate with Nutrition Professionals: Engage with nutritionists or dietitians to provide personalized dietary guidance to students. This could include organizing regular health check-ups, nutrition counselling sessions, or workshops where students can receive individualized advice based on their health status and dietary preferences.

Introduce Incentives for Healthier Choices: Implement incentive programs that reward students for making healthier dietary choices. This could involve partnerships with local businesses, discounts on healthier food options, or recognition programs to celebrate individuals or groups adopting and promoting a healthier lifestyle.

Establish Continuous Research and Evaluation: Encourage ongoing research and evaluation to understand evolving dietary patterns and their impact on student health. This could involve collaborations with research institutions, creating a feedback system for students to share their experiences, and adapting interventions based on the changing dynamics of junk food consumption. Regular assessment ensures the effectiveness of implemented strategies and informs future decision-making.

Contribution to Knowledge

This research significantly contributes to the existing body of knowledge by shedding light on the intricate relationship between junk food consumption, awareness levels, and health outcomes among university students. The empirical studies reviewed collectively emphasized the global nature of the issue, illustrating that patterns of junk food consumption and their health implications are not confined to specific geographic regions. Instead, they transcend cultural contexts, highlighting the need for universally applicable interventions. By synthesizing findings from diverse studies conducted in Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, India, and other countries, this research forms a comprehensive narrative that enriches our understanding of the complex interplay between dietary choices and health consequences among university students.

Moreover, the research contributes methodologically by adopting a quantitative survey design, a common but robust approach endorsed by scholars such as Saunders et al. (2019) for efficiently collecting large-scale data. The survey, with its standardized data collection methods, aligns with the objective of quantifying the prevalence of junk food consumption and awareness levels among Imo State University students. This methodological choice adds depth to the existing literature, providing a nuanced perspective on the awareness and behaviour of students toward junk food across diverse sociodemographic profiles.

Lastly, the research serves as a foundation for future investigations and interventions. The identified gaps in the literature, such as the limited focus on socioeconomic factors, present opportunities for further exploration. Future studies could delve deeper into the specific influence of socioeconomic status on junk food preferences among university students, contributing to a more nuanced understanding of the contextual factors shaping dietary choices. Additionally, the recommendations proposed, grounded in the empirical findings, offer practical insights for policymakers, educators, and health professionals seeking effective strategies to address the challenges associated with junk food consumption on university campuses.


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