Assessment of a University Campus Food Environment, California, 2015
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Assessment of a University Campus Food Environment, California, 2015

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  • English

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      University campuses offer an opportunity to study the extent to which modifying the food environment influences eating, but in-depth characterizations of campus food environments are needed to identify potential targets for intervention. The objective of this project was to describe the availability, accessibility, and quality of healthful food choices in dining venues and food stores at or near a public, 4-year university in California.


      Trained assessors used the Nutrition Environment Measures Survey for campus dining (NEMS-CD) to evaluate all 18 campus dining venues, and NEMS for stores (NEMS-S) to evaluate 2 on-campus and 37 off-campus food stores. We calculated prevalence of healthful and unhealthful constructs (eg, availability of selected food items, presence of signage encouraging healthful eating, pricing options that encourage healthful eating), based on the NEMS and compared scores across different types of venues.


      NEMS-CD scores ranged from 4 to 47 (mean [SD], 26.0 [14.4]) out of a possible maximum score of 97; 12% of entrées and 36% of main dish salads served in these venues were classified as healthful. NEMS-S score for the 2 on-campus food stores (24 for both) was intermediate between off-campus convenience stores (mean [SD], 12.0 [5.3]) and grocery/supermarket stores (mean [SD], 31.1 [10.0]), with a possible maximum score of 54.


      Standardized environmental evaluation provides insights into both positive and negative aspects of campus community food venues. Environmental assessment identifies potential targets for modification and baseline data for designing and implementing action-oriented research aimed at improving the campus food environment’s support of healthful food choices for college students.

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