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The Unhappiness Index: McDonald's Customers Are Least Happy With Their Health + Other Uncomfortable Insights Into Fast Food Choices

The Dark Side of the Happy Meal
The Dark Side of the Happy Meal

Apparently, one can guess whether you are happy or unhappy with your health based on your decision to have chicken nuggets from Chick-fil-A rather than from McDonald's. That is, according to the BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey, which ranked the happiness level of certain fast food customers on its "Unhappiness Index." The survey found that McDonald's customers are the least happy with their health, followed closely by the unhappy eaters at Taco Bell, Wendy's and Burger King. On the flipside, those happiest with their health generally are noshing away at Chick-fil-A, Subway and Arby's.

Researchers for the study surveyed 8,716 fast food customers at McDonald's, Wendy's, Subway, Taco Bell, Burger King, Chick-fil-A, Arby's and Kentucky Fried Chicken, asking them to rate, on a scale of 1 (Totally Unhappy) to 5 (Totally Happy), how they feel about their health. Overall, about one in five customers are none too happy, with customers who frequent McDonald's and Taco Bell among those who "tend to have a more negative opinion of their own physical condition versus the general population." In contrast, almost 59% of Chick-fil-A customers say they are "Happy/Totally happy" with their health, followed closely by diners at Subway (57.1%) and Arby's (56.6%).

Perhaps unsurprisingly, those who are more satisfied with their health also generally have healthier lifestyles. Subway customers exercise more regularly than McDonald's customers, for example, and Chick-fil-A diners generally are more likely to count their calories than customers at Burger King.

Based on the responses, consumer insights director Pam Goodfellow concludes, "Americans' overall personal health perceptions aren't specific to their fast food chain of choice. We've found that it boils down to their health habits, including exercising regularly and watching fat and calorie intake."

Data for the survey was collected during the first week of February.


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