Fast Food Purchases, Credit Card Debt and Obesity in Australia

Information verified correct on October 26th, 2016
Fast food

Australia is currently listed on the 11th spot for spending on fast food takeout meals with an observed $4 billion increase in less than three years. This is related to a study conducted by a professor from Cornell University regarding the credit card spending habits of 1,000 customers over a period of six months in 2003. The findings show that consumers tend to think of spending more wisely by purchasing healthy food with cash; however, vice foods are bought with the use of credit cards. Due to the financial crisis that affected the worldwide economy, consumers perceived saving more in preferring to spend on fast food over more pricey healthy food options. Consequently, due to the increase in sales of fast food, 25% of citizens over the age of 18 have exhibited obesity making the Australia the 39th most obese country worldwide.

Consecutive experiments following the Cornell University study have shown that consumers correlate healthy foods with beneficial products and liken the purchase of such items through cash as responsible consumer attitude. On the other hand, junk food is viewed as unhealthy or vice products and that the purchases through credit cards reflect an attitude of instinctual, visceral behaviour.

The findings above show that consumers have finally recognised that wrong credit card use often lead to irresponsible purchasing attitudes; which is why more expensive food items are bought with cash whereas cheaper and easier to pay vice items are paid through credit cards.

These findings, all interwoven together, have projected the need for consumers to understand more about the concept of responsible spending, especially in preferring the use of credit cards over cash. Additionally, an overall re-education about health and lifestyle attitudes that are economically friendly and healthy needs to be done.

One of the main functions of a credit card is to act as a safety net in cases of emergency when cash is not available, such as repairs for a family car or unforeseen medical emergencies. The craving for junk food is not an emergency and healthier food choices that are not as expensive as casual and formal dining restaurants are widely available.

The avoidance of cumulative debts and interests, as well as influencing consumers to buy healthier food choices, would probably be achieved if consumers knew the amount of their balances and the nature by which they have spent most of their credit amounts.

The studies have also shown that spending capabilities do not equate to the type of food that are being purchased by credit card holders. The credit card is known as a status of financial stability; however, these are the consumers who also frequently purchase fast food – they have the inclination to shop impulsively. Therefore, further research regarding an individual’s ability to pay credit card debt with junk food purchasing preferences would bring more light into the degree by which purchasers are more prone to buy impulse or visceral products.

The changing background of society, where economic stability is setting in, social issues are being given more focus, and technological innovations are rapidly affecting consumer buying decisions, credit card companies are being driven into devising new methods of allowing consumers to manage their accounts responsibly, such as the inclusion of an electronic screen display on a card that shows cumulative debt. With similar tools in mind, the consumer would probably think twice before purchasing unnecessary vice items and let them lean more toward thoughtful spending. There would be the avoidance of junk food purchases, more responsible financial management, and better spending preferences for cash, debit, or credit payments.

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

Ask a Question

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Disclaimer: At we provide factual information and general advice. Before you make any decision about a product read the Product Disclosure Statement and consider your own circumstances to decide whether it is appropriate for you.
Rates and fees mentioned in comments are correct at the time of publication.
By submitting this question you agree to the privacy policy, receive follow up emails related to and to create a user account where further replies to your questions will be sent.

Credit Cards Comparison

Rates last updated October 26th, 2016
Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Balance Transfer Offer
Enjoy a 0% p.a. balance transfer offer for 18 months and also earn 2 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months on everyday spend.
20.74% p.a. 0% p.a. for 18 months $64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter) Go to site More info
ME Bank frank Credit Card
Enjoy a low and consistent interest rate on purchases and cash advances, combined with no annual fee.
11.99% p.a. $0 p.a. Go to site More info
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
Receive a full annual fee refund and save $149 if you meet the $6,000 spend requirement. Enjoy a balance transfer offer and platinum card benefits such as complimentary insurances and concierge services.
19.99% p.a. 0% p.a. for 15 months $149 p.a. Go to site More info
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
The NAB Low Rate Card offers 0% p.a. on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. This card also comes with a low annual fee.
0% p.a. for 15 months (reverts to 13.99% p.a.) 0% p.a. for 15 months with a one off 3% balance transfer fee $59 p.a. Go to site More info

* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your own personal financial circumstances when comparing cards.

Ask a question