Campus food and beverage purchases are associated with indicators of diet quality in college students living off campus

Jennifer E. Pelletier, Melissa N. Laska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose. To examine the association between college students' dietary patterns and frequency of purchasing food/beverages from campus area venues, purchasing fast food, and bringing food from home. Design. Cross-sectional Student Health and Wellness Study. Setting. One community college and one public university in the Twin Cities, Minnesota. Subjects. Diverse college students living off campus (n=1059; 59% nonwhite; mean [SD] age, 22 [5] years). Measures. Participants self-reported sociodemographic characteristics and frequency of purchasing food/beverages around campus, purchasing fast food, and bringing food from home. Campus area purchases included à la carte facilities, vending machines, beverages, and nearby restaurants/stores. Dietary outcomes included breakfast and evening meal consumption (d/wk) and summary variables of fruit and vegetable, dairy, calcium, fiber, added sugar, and fat intake calculated from food frequency screeners. Analysis. The associations between each purchasing behavior and dietary outcomes were examined using t-tests and linear regression. Results. Approximately 45% of students purchased food/beverages from at least one campus area venue ≥3 times per week. Frequent food/beverage purchasing around campus was associated with less frequent breakfast consumption and higher fat and added sugar intake, similar to fast-food purchasing. Bringing food from home was associated with healthier dietary patterns. Conclusion. Increasing the healthfulness of campus food environments and promoting healthy food and beverage purchasing around campuses may be an important target for nutrition promotion among college students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-87
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Promotion
Volume28
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2013

Keywords

  • Built environment
  • Colleges and universities
  • Fast food
  • Food environment
  • Format: Research
  • Geographic location
  • Health focus: Nutrition
  • Nutrition
  • Outcome measure: Behavioral
  • Prevention research
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Research purpose: Modeling/ relationship testing
  • Setting: School
  • Strategy: Skill building/behavior change
  • Study design: Nonexperimental
  • Target population age: Adults
  • Target population circumstances: Education/income level
  • Young adults

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