Evaluation of the Food Store Environment On and Near the Campus of 15 Postsecondary Institutions

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PURPOSE: This study evaluated the food stores on and near postsecondary campuses varying in institutional size.
DESIGN: The design of the study is an environmental audit survey.
SETTING: Fifteen U.S. postsecondary education institutions participated in this study between 2009-2011.
SUBJECTS: Eighty-one stores (44% grocery, 17% campus, and 39% convenience/drug) were evaluated.
MEASURES: The Nutrition Environment Measures Survey for Stores was modified to evaluate food stores. Analysis. Analysis of variance with post hoc Tukey B and t-tests assessed differences between store types and by institutional size.
RESULTS: Grocery stores had significantly higher scores than campus/convenience stores for healthy foods (19.5 ± 3.8 vs. 2.4 ± 1.7), and for the availability (19.5 ± 3.8 vs. 2.4 ± 1.7) and quality (5.9 ± 0.5 vs. 1.8 ± 2.2) of fruits/vegetables (p < .001). Healthy foods and beverages were significantly more expensive (-0.6 ± 3.4 vs. 0.9 ± 2.0; p < .031) than their less healthful alternatives in grocery stores, but not in convenience stores. There were no differences by institutional size for grocery stores; however, smaller institutions' convenience stores had significantly lower availability and quality of fruits/vegetables and total food store environment scores.
CONCLUSION: A college campus provides a food environment with an array of shopping venues, most of which are not consistent with dietary recommendations for obesity prevention. The limited quality of healthy food in on-campus and convenience stores and the exacerbated deficiencies for small postsecondary institutions provide evidence to support environmental and policy initiatives to improve the quality of campus food store environments.

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American Journal of Health Promotion





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PMID: 23448419

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