A Cross-Sectional Evaluation of the Food Environment at an Australian University Campus

Daisy H. Coyle, Laura Sanavio, Eden Barrett, Liping Huang, Kristy K. Law, Pabasha Nanayakkara, Jonathan M. Hodgson, Merita O'Connell, Belinda Meggitt, Carrie Tsai, Simone Pettigrew, Jason H.Y. Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


University food environments have a strong influence on the dietary choices of students and staff. The aim of this study was to assess the food environment at a large university in Sydney, Australia. Data were collected between March and July 2022 from 27 fixed food outlets and 24 vending machines. The healthiness of the food environment was evaluated using the Healthy Food and Drink in NSW Health Facilities for Staff and Visitors Framework ('Framework'), which assesses food environment parameters including the availability, placement, and promotion of 'Everyday' (healthy) and 'Occasional' (less healthy) products. Each parameter was evaluated overall and across each food outlet type. Across all outlets, Everyday foods and drinks made up 43.9% of all products. Only two outlets met the Framework's product availability benchmark of ≥75% Everyday foods and drinks. A total of 43 outlets (84.3%) sold sugary drinks as part of their product range. Occasional products made up 68.4%, 53.3%, and 59.9% of all items for sale at checkout areas, countertops, and eye-level shelves, respectively. Finally, 79.7% of meal deals included Occasional products. Our findings highlight the need to improve the availability, placement, and promotion of foods and drinks sold at a major university campus in Sydney, Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1623
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023


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