The aim of this study was to assess the healthfulness of a sample of campus eateries at 2 time points, 2 years apart. Five eateries at the University of Waterloo were audited using the Nutrition Environment Measures Survey adapted for university campuses (NEMS-UC) in 2015 and late 2017–early 2018. Based on the availability of healthy options and facilitators of and barriers to healthy eating, possible NEMS-UC scores ranged from −5 to 23 points. Scores were low, ranging from 7 to 14 (mean = 10.8, SD = 2.59) points in 2015 and 7 to 13 (mean = 9.6, SD = 2.19) points in 2017–2018. For all eateries except 1 residence cafeteria, scores at time 2 were the same or lower than scores at time 1. All venues carried whole fruit and vegetable options and lower-fat milks, and most offered whole-wheat options. However, healthier items were often located in low-traffic areas, priced higher than less healthy options, and sometimes limited to prepackaged items. Misleading health messaging was also evident. Increased availability, accessibility, and visibility of healthy offerings is needed to enhance campus food environments and support healthy eating patterns, while barriers such as contradictory messaging should be minimized.
Research interests: Food policy, food systems, food environments, environmental sustainability and health, health informatics, systems thinking and methods
PhD Candidate, Public Health and Health Systems, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, University of Waterloo (2016- )
BSc, Health Studies with Health Informatics Option, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, University of Waterloo (2011-2016) (BSc research project summary)
Peer-reviewed:Reports and other publications:
Select professional activities and networks:
- Coordinator, University of Waterloo Meal Exchange Student Chapter (2017-Present)
- Events and Communications Coordinator, Canadian Obesity Network-Students and New Professionals University of Waterloo Chapter (CON-SNP-UW) (2016-Present)
Summary of BSc Research Project: Assessing the consumer nutrition environment on university campuses—A case study of eateries at the University of Waterloo
- The campus food environment has the potential to influence eating behaviours among students.
- The purpose of this study was to examine the consumer food environment at the University of Waterloo, with a focus on availability and accessibility of healthy food choices and facilitators and barriers to healthy eating.
- Environmental cues, such as marketing materials, within eateries often contradicted the availability of healthy choices.
- Healthy options were priced similarly or higher than less healthy options, were typically limited to pre-packaged choices, and often located in low-traffic areas.
- Strategies are needed to create university food environments that support healthy eating.