Students' perspectives on promoting healthful food choices from campus vending machines: A qualitative interview study Health behavior, health promotion and society

Habiba I. Ali, Amjad H. Jarrar, Mostafa Abo-El-Enen, Mariam Al Shamsi, Huda Al Ashqar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number512
JournalBMC public health
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 28 2015

Keywords

  • Nutrition education
  • Qualitative interviews
  • United Arab Emirates
  • University students
  • Vending machines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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