University Of Tasmania
IJSHEMurrayetal2021.PDF (595.78 kB)

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

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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.


Publication title

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education




School of Health Sciences


Emerald Publishing Limited

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

© Emerald Publishing Limited

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Sustainability indicators; Health status (incl. wellbeing); Social class and inequalities