Assessment of the Situation and the Cause of Junk Food Consumption in Iranians: A Qualitative Study
Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 32795
Assessment of the Situation and the Cause of Junk Food Consumption in Iranians: A Qualitative Study

Authors: A. Rezazadeh, B Damari, S. Riazi-Esfahani, M. Hajian


The consumption of junk food in Iran is alarmingly increasing. This study aimed to investigate the influencing factors of junk food consumption and amendable interventions that are criticized and approved by stakeholders, in order to presented to health policy makers. The articles and documents related to the content of study were collected by using the appropriate key words such as junk food, carbonated beverage, chocolate, candy, sweets, industrial fruit juices, potato chips, French fries, puffed corn, cakes, biscuits, sandwiches, prepared foods and popsicles, ice cream, bar, chewing gum, pastilles and snack, in,,,,,,,,,, and databases. The main key points were extracted and included in a checklist and qualitatively analyzed. Then a summarized abstract was prepared in a format of a questionnaire to be presented to stakeholders. The design of this was qualitative (Delphi). According to this method, a questionnaire was prepared based on reviewing the articles and documents and it was emailed to stakeholders, who were asked to prioritize and choose the main problems and effective interventions. After three rounds, consensus was obtained.            Studies revealed high consumption of junk foods in the Iranian population, especially in children and adolescents. The most important affecting factors include availability, low price, media advertisements, preference of fast foods taste, the variety of the packages and their attractiveness, low awareness and changing in lifestyle. Main interventions recommended by stakeholders include developing a protective environment, educational interventions, increasing healthy food access and controlling media advertisements and putting pressure from the Industry and Mining Ministry on producers to produce healthy snacks. According to the findings, the results of this study may be proposed to public health policymakers as an advocacy paper and to be integrated in the interventional programs of Health and Education ministries and the media. Also, implementation of supportive meetings with the producers of alternative healthy products is suggested.

Keywords: Junk foods, situation, qualitative study, Iran.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 1222


[1] Sayayri A. A., Sheykholeslam R., Naghavi M., Kolahdouz F., Abdollahi Z. Surveying the amount of junk food consumption in under-3-year-old children of rural and urban areas, 1998. KAUMS Journal (FEYZ). 2002; 6 (1): 71-75 (full text in Persian).
[2] Alborzimanesh M., Kimiagar M., Rashidkhani B., Atefi-Sadraini S. The relation between overweight and obesity with some lifestyle factors in the 3rd–5th grade primary schoolgirls in Tehran City 6th district. Iranian Journal of Nutrition Sciences & Food Technology. 2011; 6 (3): 75-84 (full text in Persian).
[3] Kelishadi R., Ardalan G., Gheiratmand R., Sheikholeslam R., Majdzadeh S., Delavari A., et al. Do the dietary habits of our community warrant health of children and adolescents now and in future? CASPIAN Study. Iranian Journal of Pediatrics. 2005; 15 (2): 97-109 (full text in Persian).
[4] Dadkhah P. M., Amini M., Houshyarrad A., Abd E. M., Zoughi T., Eslami M. Qualitative and Quantitative Dietry Assessbent of Primary School Children in Tehran. 2008; 3(1):31-44. (full text in Persian).
[5] Kolahdooz F., Sheykh A. R., Naghavi R. M., Abdollahi Z. Junk Food Consumption: an Indicator of Changing Dietary Habit in Iranian Children 2004; 13: S121-124. (full text in Persian).
[6] Zahedi H., Kelishadi R., Heshmat R., Motlagh M. E., Ranjbar S. H., Ardalan G., et al. Association between junk food consumption and mental health in a national sample of Iranian children and adolescents: The CASPIAN-IV study. Nutrition-7. 2014: 30(11): 1391-1397.
[7] Whitney E., DeBruyne L., Pinna K., Rolfes S. R. Nutrition for Health and Health Care. Fourth edition, Cengage Learning press, USA 2010: 33-34.
[8] Choobineh M., Hesari S., Hossain D., Haghighizadeh M. Study of Nutritional Knowledge of Ahwaz High School Girls and the Education Effect. Journal of Birjand University of Medical Sciences. 2009; 16 (1): 23-30. (full text in Persian).
[9] Azemati B., Heshmat R., Sanaei M., Salehi F., Sadeghi F., Ghaderpanahi M., et al. Nutritional Knowledge, Attitude and Practice of Iranian Households and Primary Health Care Staff: NUTRIKAP Survey. J Diabetes Metab Disord. 2013; 12 (12): 1-4.
[10] Esfarjani F., Hajifaraji M., Houshyarrad A., Roustaei R., zoghi T., Eslami M., et al. Evaluation of Snack Consumption Pattern of Adolescents in Schools of East Tehran. 9th national congress of Nutition; 2006, Tabriz, Iran (Abstact in Persian).
[11] Malekshahi F., Malekshahi M. Investigation of Hoosing Snacks by Children and Adolescents and its Related Factors. 9th National Congress of Nutition; 2006, Tabriz, Iran (Abstact in Persian).
[12] Kafeshani O., Sarrafzadegan N., Nouri F., Mohammadifard N. Major Dietary Patterns in Iranian Adolescents: Isfahan Healthy Heart Program, Iran. ARYA Atheroscler 2015; 11(1): 8-16.
[13] Taei N., Dalvand Sh., Ramesh T. Evaluation of Dietary Habits in Schoolchildren, the City of Khorramabad. 9th National Congress of Nutition; 2006, Tabriz, Iran (Abstact in Persian).
[14] Naghibzadeh M. Prevalence of Malnutrition among Students in Yazd Academic Year 2005-2006. 9th national congress of Nutition; 2006, Tabriz, Iran (Abstact in Persian).
[15] Ghiasvand R., Ashrafi M., Ashrafzadeh E., Asgari Gr., Hasanzadeh A. Relationship between Junk Foods Intake and Weight in 6-7 Year Old Children, Shahin Shahr and Meimeh, 2008. Health System Research 2010; 6(2): S 0-7.
[16] Maddah M., Rashidi A., Mohammadpour B., Vafa R., Karandish M. In-school Snacking, Breakfast Consumption, and Sleeping Patterns of Normal and Overweight Iranian High School Girls: a Study in Urban and Rural Areas in Guilan, Iran. Journal of nutrition education and behavior. 2009; 41 (1): 27-31.
[17] Karimi-Shahanjarini A., Omidvar N., Bazargan M., Rashidian A, Majdzadeh R., Shojaeizadeh D. Iranian Female Adolescent’s Views on Unhealthy Snacks Consumption: a Qualitative Study. Iranian journal of public health. 2010; 39 (3): 92-99.
[18] Karimi A., Shojaeizadeh, Rashidi A., Omidvar N. Combined Approach Determinants of Snack Undervalued in Adolescents. Journal of Nutrition and Food Technology 2008;2(13):61-70 (full text in Persian).
[19] Pouretedal Z., Salekzamani Sh., Vahidkia N., Ebrahimi M. Changes in Food Consumption Patterns of Students of Tabriz University of Medical Sciences after Admission to the University. 2008; 30(1): 37-42 (full text in Persian).
[20] Amini M., Kimiagar M., Omidvar N. Which Foods do TV Food Advertisements Entice Our Children to Eat? Iranian Journal of Nutrition Sciences & Food Technology. 2007; 2 (1): 49-57. (Abstact in Persian).
[21] Verger P., Covhet A., Draussin G. Effect of a Snack Taken in the Morning on Food Intake During the Whole Day. Medicine-et nutrition journal. 1995; 8: 231-233.
[22] Zizza C., Siega-Riz A. M., Popkin B. M. Significant Increase in Young Adults' Snacking between 1977-1978 and 1994-1996 Represents a Cause for Concern! Preventive medicine. 2001; 32 (4): 303-10.
[23] Adair L. S., Popkin B. M. Are Child Eating Patterns being Transformed Globally? Obesity Research. 2005; 13 (7): 1281-99.
[24] Skinner J. D., Ziegler P., Pac S., Devaney B. Meal and Snack Patterns of Infants and Toddlers. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2004; 104(1): 65-70.
[25] Matthys C., De Henauw S., Devos C., De Backer G. Estimated Energy Intake, Macronutrient Intake and Meal Pattern of Flemish Adolescents. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2003; 57 (2): 366-75.
[26] Piernas C., Popkin B. M. Trends in Snacking among US Children. Health Affairs. 2010; 29 (3): 398-404.
[27] Shepherd R. Commentary on Shepherd, R. & Towler, G. Nutrition Knowledge, Attitudes and Fat intake: Application of the Theory of Reasoned Action. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics. 1992; 5(6): 387-397.
[28] Cullen K. W., Baranowski T, .Rittenberry L., Olvera N. Social–environmental Influences on Children's Diets: Results from Focus Groups with African-, Euro-and Mexican-American Children and Their Parents. Health Education Research. 2000; 15 (5): 581-90.
[29] Powell L. M., Szczypka G., Chaloupka F. J. Adolescent Exposure to Food Advertising on Television. American journal of preventive medicine. 2007; 33 (4): 251-6.
[30] Schroeter C., Lusk J., Tyner W. Determining the Impact of Food Price and Income Changes on Body Weight. Journal of health economics. 2008; 27 (1): 45-68.
[31] Kuriyan R., Bhat S., Thomas T., Vaz M., Kurpad A. V. Television Viewing and Sleep are Associated with Overweight among Urban and Semi-urban South Indian Children. Nutr J. 2007; 6 (25): 1-4.
[32] Yaniv G., Rosin O., Tobol Y. Junk-food, Home Cooking, Physical Activity and Obesity: The Effect of the Fat Tax and the Thin Subsidy. Journal of Public Economics. 2009; 93 (5): 823-30.
[33] Hopping B., Erber E., Mead E., Sheehy T., Roache C, Sharma S. Socioeconomic Indicators and Frequency of Traditional Food Junk Food, and Fruit and Vegetable Consumption amongst Inuit Adults in the Canadian Arctic. Journal of human nutrition and dietetics. 2010; 23 (1): 51-8.