OBJECTIVE: To investigate fruit and vegetable (F&V) intakes of university students and associated demographic and lifestyle characteristics, and students' perceptions of F&V availability and F&V intervention strategies in the university environment.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional questionnaire data were collected; F&V intakes were measured using a food frequency tool. Multivariable linear regression analyses were used to analyse the associations between demographic and lifestyle characteristics and F&V intakes.
SETTING: Universities in the Netherlands.
SUBJECTS: University students (n 717).
RESULTS: The majority of students did not adhere to Dutch F&V guidelines (71 % and 93 %, respectively). Fruit intake was lower among students who were male, living independently, enrolled in a technical study, not adhering to physical activity guidelines, and heavy to excessive alcohol drinkers. Vegetable intake was lower among students who were non-Dutch, living with their parents, not adhering to physical activity guidelines, and moderate and heavy to excessive alcohol drinkers. Most students perceived that their university environment offers sufficient healthy foods (60 %) and F&V (65 %), but also indicated that their F&V intakes would increase with interventions concerning affordable F&V in the university canteen (64 %) or university supermarket (60 %). Students were less disposed to indicate that weekly local farmers' markets, vegetable parcels or a vegetable garden would increase their F&V intakes.
CONCLUSIONS: Dutch university students do not consume enough F&V. Future efforts that aim to promote students' F&V intakes should consider the differences between subgroups based on demographic and lifestyle characteristics and that affordable F&V in the university environment might be an effective strategy.
- Fruit and vegetable intake
- Healthy diet
- Nutrition intervention