eCite Digital Repository

Prevalence of food insecurity and satisfaction with on-campus food choices among Australian university students


Murray, S and Peterson, C and Primo, C and Elliott, C and Otlowski, M and Auckland, S and Kent, K, Prevalence of food insecurity and satisfaction with on-campus food choices among Australian university students, International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education ISSN 1467-6370 (2021) [Refereed Article]

PDF (Post-print)

Copyright Statement

Emerald Publishing Limited

DOI: doi:10.1108/IJSHE-09-2020-0348


Purpose: Food insecurity and poor access to healthy food is known to compromise tertiary studies in university students, and food choices are linked to student perceptions of the campus food environment. This study aims to describe the prevalence, demographic and education characteristics associated with food insecurity in a sample of Australian university students, and their satisfaction with on-campus food choices.

Design/methodology/approach: An online, cross-sectional survey conducted as part of the biannual sustainability themed survey was conducted at the University of Tasmania in March 2020. A single-item measure was used to assess food insecurity in addition to six demographic and education characteristics, and four questions about the availability of food, affordable food, sustainable food and local food on campus.

Findings: Survey data (n=1,858) were analysed using bivariate analyses and multivariate binary logistic regression. Thirty-eight percent of respondents (70% female; 80% domestic student; 42% aged 18-24 years) were food insecure. Overall, 41% of students were satisfied with the food available on campus. Nearly half (47%) of food insecure students were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the availability of affordable food on campus. A minority of students were satisfied with the availability of sustainable food (37%) and local food (33%) on campus.

Originality: These findings demonstrate a high prevalence of food insecurity and deficits in the university food environment, which can inform the development of strategies to improve the food available on campus, including affordable, sustainable, and local options.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:food security, food insecurity, university students, college students, campus food environment, sustainable food
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Nutrition and dietetics
Research Field:Public health nutrition
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Health status (incl. wellbeing)
UTAS Author:Murray, S (Ms Sandra Murray)
UTAS Author:Peterson, C (Mr Corey Peterson)
UTAS Author:Primo, C (Dr Carmen Primo Perez)
UTAS Author:Elliott, C (Dr Catherine Elliott)
UTAS Author:Otlowski, M (Professor Margaret Otlowski)
UTAS Author:Auckland, S (Mr Stuart Auckland)
UTAS Author:Kent, K (Dr Katherine Kent)
ID Code:142559
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:10
Deposited By:Health Sciences
Deposited On:2021-01-25
Last Modified:2022-08-29
Downloads:35 View Download Statistics

Repository Staff Only: item control page