Not So Fast: The Influx of American Fast Food in Italy and Its Effects on Italian Youth by Daniela Busciglio

created on Jun 30, 2016 modified on Oct 11, 2016 11:06


This project examines the increasing quantity of American fast food chains in Italy and the increasing consumption of fast food by Italians, particularly by Italian teenagers. Today, roughly 33% of Italian children are overweight, and overall obesity rates are projected to rise by 5%, according to the OECD. Combined with this is that due to economic decline in the last decade and in the increase of women in the Italian workforce in the past 20 years, women are working outside the home but are still the primary caretakers of the family so their time is much more limited and therefore kids are eating less home-cooked meals and eating more fast food and processed food. The product is for students to produce a social media campaign to present to the high school students in Arezzo, Italy (just outside Florence), where my university has a thriving campus and organizes internships for American university students to work with Italian high students. In this project, students will first examine what is available to them gastronomically on their campus here in Oklahoma, in the campus surrounding areas, their own eating and health habits and compare to a traditional Italian (Mediterranean) diet. Many of the students are planning to study in Arezzo and several have returned from studying in Arezzo for a semester or a full year so there is a variety of useful viewpoints students will be able to contribute to inform this project. They will then examine what types of fast food chains are available in Arezzo and the surrounding areas, conducting interviews of Italian high school students to see what they prefer to eat and their health habits to foster cultural comparisons through cultural connections.

National Foreign Language Resource Center
Daniela F. Busciglio, Ph.D.

Language: Italian

Subject Area(s): lifestyles, health, global challenges, food, education, traditions, restaurant

Instructional Context

Heritage Learners:

Target Audience Description:
Italian youth but not exclusively. Secondary and post-secondary school students learning Italian. This project and its products can be catered/accommodated to meet needs of novice, intermediate or advanced level students.

Audience Role:
Participants in project as well as audience/viewers

Product Target Culture:

Product Description:
A campaign (infographic) on social media that talks about the effects of fast food and the increasing fast food chains in Italy will be the final product.

Audience Location:
Arezzo, Italy

Language Proficiency

ACTFL Scale:
5 2 3 4 6 7

World Readiness Standards

Relating Cultural Products to Perspectives
Relating Cultural Practices to Perspectives


Cultural comparisons
Language comparisons

Lifelong Learning
School and Global

Making Connections
Acquiring Information and Diverse Perspectives

21st Century Skills

Life and Career Skills
Flexibility and adaptability

Information, Media, and Technology Skills
Creativity and Innovation

Life and Career Skills
Leadership and responsibility
Productivity and Accountability
Social and Cross Cultural Skills
Initiative and Self-Direction

Interdisciplinary Themes
Global Awareness
Health Literacy
Financial, Economic, Business and Entrepreneurial Literacy

Information, Media, and Technology Skills
Technology Literacy
Media Literacy
Information Literacy

Project Sequence Overview

Preparing for the Project

1. Task 1 Entry Event - Student watch a series of videos (two commercials and a 5 minute interview) to contextualize the issue and reflect on food culture in Italy, especially in Naples and fast food culture. more detail

Launching the Project

1. Task 2: Local U.S. Fast Food Culture / Food Log - Students begin initial research and reflection on local and global food culture and keep a food log to observe their own eating and health habits. more detail

Managing the Project

1. Task 3: Fast Food Research & Comparison in Italy and the U.S. - Students begin to delve deeper into understandings and reflections and iterations of culture in fast food in US and Italy, fostering interdisciplinary investigations of geography, math and statistics, art/design, sociology, as well as in depth grammar usage of question words and question word order/syntax. more detail

2. Task 4: Interview Protocol and Data Collection (Phase I) - Students begin formulating questions to put into the survey for their partner school to answer and they predict answers to the questions they formulated and vetted. more detail

3. Task 5: Data Results Processing and Summarizing (Phase 2) - Students at the partner school in Italy take the survey (they are given 4-5 days to do so) and then student unpack, process, and summarize the results. more detail

4. Task 6: Comparing US students' food log with data results from survey conducted - In this task students will go back to their food logs and see what similarities and differences there are in food and health habits cross-culturally and reflect on those differences/similarities. more detail

5. Task 7: Semi-structured Interview with Partner School in Italy via Skype (Phase 3) - Students design, prepare for and conduct a semi-structured interview on Skype with several Italian high school students to present the results of their research to their audience. more detail

6. Task 8: Social Media Campaign - In addition to the survey conducted and presented, students can produce another public product if the teacher wishes to extend this project. more detail


1. Task 9: Project Epilogue and Reflection - Students celebrate and reflect upon their PBLL experiences and the creation of the public products. more detail