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Differences in perceptions and fast food eating behaviours between Indians living in high- and low-income neighbourhoods of Chandigarh, India

Christopher Robert Aloia1*, Danijela Gasevic2, Salim Yusuf3, Koon Teo3, Arun Chockalingam4, Binod Kumar Patro5, Rajesh Kumar5 and Scott Alexander Lear126

  • * Corresponding author: Christopher Robert Aloia

Author Affiliations

1 Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada

2 Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC, Canada

3 Faculty of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

4 Office of Global Health, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, Bethesda, MD, USA

5 Community Medicine, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India

6 Division of Cardiology, Providence Health Care, Vancouver, Canada

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Nutrition Journal 2013, 12:4  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-12-4

Published: 7 January 2013



Increased density of fast food restaurants is associated with increased prevalence of obesity in developed countries. However, less is known about this relationship in developing countries undergoing rapid urbanization and how differences in neighbourhood income affect the patronage of fast food outlets. The purpose of the study is to explore the differences in fast food preferences, perceptions, and patronage between Indians living in high- and low-income neighbourhoods.


This cross-sectional study recruited 204 men and women (35 to 65 years in age) from high- and low-income neighbourhoods who completed a questionnaire on fast food consumption. The questionnaire asked participants to define fast food and to provide reasons for and frequency of visits to fast food restaurants. The differences were analyzed using Chi square and t-tests for categorical and continuous variables, respectively.


Participants from a high-income neighbourhood were more likely to perceive Western -style fast food as fast food, while people from the low-income neighbourhood were more likely to identify food sold by street vendors as fast food (p <0.001). Furthermore, compared to participants from the high-income neighbourhood, people from the low-income neighbourhood were more likely to report buying food from street vendors while less likely to dine out at both fast food and non-fast food restaurants (p<0.001). Although the high-income neighbourhood group was more likely to report enjoying eating at fast food restaurants than their low-income neighbourhood counterparts, there were no significant differences in the reasons for visiting fast food restaurants (convenience, price, social enjoyment, and quality of meals) between the two groups. Both groups preferred home cooked over restaurant meals, and they recognized that home cooked food was healthier.


Overall, consumption of fast food was low. People from a high-income neighbourhood dined out more frequently and were more likely to perceive Western-style food as fast food compared to their counterparts from the low-income neighbourhood.

Fast food; Neighbourhood income; Street food; India; South Asian