Evaluation of the food store environment on and near the campus of 15 postsecondary institutions

Tanya M. Horacek, Maria B. Erdman, Melissa M. Reznar, Melissa Olfert, Onikia N. Brown-Esters, Kendra K. Kattelmann, Tandalayo Kidd, Mallory Koenings, Beatrice Phillips, Virginia Quick, Karla P. Shelnutt, Adrienne A. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e81-e90
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Promotion
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2013


  • College Campus
  • Food Store Environment
  • Fruit/Vegetable Quality/Availability
  • Prevention Research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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