A College Fast-Food Environment and Student Food and Beverage Choices: Developing an Integrated Database to Examine Food and Beverage Purchasing Choices among College Students. Academic Article uri icon


  • Universities typically offer residential students a variety of fast-food dining options as part of the student meal plan. When residential students make fast-food purchases on campus there is a digital record of the transaction which can be used to study food purchasing behavior. This study examines the association between student demographic, economic, and behavioral factors and the healthfulness of student fast-food purchases. The 3781 fast-food items sold at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte from fall 2016 to spring 2019 were given a Fast-Food Health Score. Each student participating in the university meal plan was given a Student Average Fast-Food Health Score; calculated by averaging the Fast-Food Health Scores associated with each food and beverage item the student purchased at a fast-food vendor, concession stand, or convenience store over a semester. This analysis included 14,367 students who generated 1,593,235 transactions valued at $10,757,110. Multivariate analyses were used to examine demographic, economic, and behavioral factors associated with Student Average Fast-Food Health Scores. Being of a low income, spending more money on fast-food items, and having a lower GPA were associated with lower Student Average Fast-Food Health Scores. Future research utilizing institutional food transaction data to study healthy food choices is warranted.

published proceedings

  • Nutrients

author list (cited authors)

  • Racine, E. F., Schorno, R., Gholizadeh, S., Bably, M. B., Hatami, F., Stephens, C., ... Paul, R.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Racine, Elizabeth F||Schorno, Rachel||Gholizadeh, Shafie||Bably, Morium Barakat||Hatami, Faizeh||Stephens, Casey||Zadrozny, Wlodek||Schulkind, Lisa||Paul, Rajib

publication date

  • February 2022