Fast food is a quick and easy alternative to preparing a meal and is a growing industry that is popular among all demographics and ages. Many younger individuals think that consuming this type of food frequently has no adverse health effects, because their bodies are able to metabolize the food quickly and without noticeable health‐related consequences. One way of assessing the stress that this type of food places on the body is through measurement of arterial stiffness. I conducted a study during the summer of 2018 in the Robert Kertzer Exercise Physiology Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire to study the short‐term effects on arterial stiffness after consuming a typical fast‐food meal high in fat, sodium, and cholesterol. Significant differences were seen in the diastolic blood pressures measured following the consumption of the meal, just one of the measurements taken to assess the health of the cardiovascular system. The drop in diastolic blood pressure was a possible sign of reduced blood flow to the heart, which has more serious implications when this food is consumed habitually. Although other measures neared significance, the small sample size proved to be the greatest obstacle in achieving more significant results.

Publication Date



UNH Undergraduate Research Journal

Journal Title

Inquiry Journal


Timothy J. Quinn


Durham, NH: Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research, University of New Hampshire

Document Type