Students' perspectives on promoting healthful food choices from campus vending machines: a qualitative interview study.

Authors:
Mr Amjad Jarrar, M Sc.
Mr Amjad Jarrar, M Sc.
United Arab Emirates University
Instructor
Human Nutrition
Alain, Abu Dhabi | United Arab Emirates

BMC Public Health 2015 May 28;15:512. Epub 2015 May 28.

Department of Nutrition and Health, College of Food and Agriculture, United Arab Emirates University, PO Box 15551, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.

Background: Increasing the healthfulness of campus food environments is an important step in promoting healthful food choices among college students. This study explored university students' suggestions on promoting healthful food choices from campus vending machines. It also examined factors influencing students' food choices from vending machines.

Methods: Peer-led semi-structured individual interviews were conducted with 43 undergraduate students (33 females and 10 males) recruited from students enrolled in an introductory nutrition course in a large national university in the United Arab Emirates. Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed, and coded to generate themes using N-Vivo software.

Results: Accessibility, peer influence, and busy schedules were the main factors influencing students' food choices from campus vending machines. Participants expressed the need to improve the nutritional quality of the food items sold in the campus vending machines. Recommendations for students' nutrition educational activities included placing nutrition tips on or beside the vending machines and using active learning methods, such as competitions on nutrition knowledge.

Conclusions: The results of this study have useful applications in improving the campus food environment and nutrition education opportunities at the university to assist students in making healthful food choices.

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Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12889-015-1859-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4446908PMC
May 2015
43 Reads
2.264 Impact Factor

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