New HEAL Study: The Campus Food Environment and Postsecondary Student Diet: A Systematic Review
A team of researchers led by Olivia Caruso with Holly Schaafsma, Louise McEachern, and Jason Gilliland recently published an article entitled: “The Campus Food Environment and Postsecondary Student Diet: A Systematic Review.”
A healthy diet is important for health and well-being. Adequate consumption of vegetables, fruits, and fiber, and low intake of saturated fat, sugar, and salt can reduce the risk of noncommunicable diseases. In this review, the researchers examined the impact of the campus food environment on postsecondary students’ dietary behaviors (e.g., dietary intake) and food purchasing. Students currently attending a postsecondary institution, and all ages and geographic locations were included.
A systematic search from January 2000-October 2022 was conducted in six databases using postsecondary education, food environment, and diet related keywords.
In total, 25 quantitative and 10 qualitative studies were extracted. All quantitative studies that conducted statistical analyses (n=15) reported a statistically significant relationship between the campus food environment and dietary intake, including both positive and negative effects. All qualitative studies (n=10) discussed students’ experience of the campus food environment influencing their diet.
This review found moderate evidence that the campus food environment has an impact on postsecondary students’ dietary behaviors. A campus environment that has healthy foods accessible, affordable, and acceptable for postsecondary students may have a beneficial impact on students’ dietary intake.
Citation: Olivia Caruso, Holly Schaafsma, Louise McEachern, and Jason Gilliland. “The Campus Food Environment and Postsecondary Student Diet: A Systematic Review.” Journal of American College Health (2023). https://doi.org/10.1080/07448481.2023.2227725