Background: Urbanization and recent development in the food industries have led to a
notable increase in junk food production, making them readily available, accessible and affordable.
The main problem with junk foods is that they are low in satiation value. People do not tend to feel
as full when they eat them, which can lead to overeating. Junk food tends to replace other, more nutritious
foods. It is considered as one of the prominent causes of the pandemic of obesity.
Objective: The study aims to find out the perception and factors influencing junk food consumption
among private school children of Pokhara Valley, Nepal.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 220 students of 12 different private
schools of grades 4-9 in Pokhara, Nepal. Systematic random sampling was done to collect samples.
Data were collected by a self-administered questionnaire. Chi-square (χ2) test was used to find out
the associated factors with junk food consumption.
Results: Though the majority of the students (80.9%) stated, junk food was unhealthy but were predominantly
lured by its taste. Taste (80.5%), lack of time (16.4%), advertisement (13.6%) and
changing lifestyle (6.4%) were the major influencing factors for junk food consumption. Half of
the students were unaware of the nutritive value, food quality, ingredients, preservatives used and
negative consequences on health. Grade of the students and gender were found to be associated
with the average frequency of junk food use per week and junk food consumption pattern, respectively.
The data shows the average consumption of junk food increases as the students grew from
smaller grades to higher ones (X2=53.025, P ≤0.01).
Conclusion: Junk food consumption was notably high due to various enabling factors such as addictive
taste, changing lifestyle, propagandist advertising and instant availability. Grade and gender
of the students were the predictors of over-consuming junk foods.