Factors Influencing Students' Decisions to Choose Healthy or Unhealthy Snacks at the University of Newcastle, Australia

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The aim of this study was to explore factors influencing selection of healthy and unhealthy snacks among students. Ten students who study at the University of Newcastle in Australia participated in semi-structured interviews. Content analysis was used to analyse the data. The findings indicated that a variety of food was consumed by the students. Students classified snacks generally as unhealthy. Four major themes that emerged were: the perception of healthy and unhealthy snacks, the factors related to selection of healthy and unhealthy snacks, feelings related to consumption of snacks, and ways to avoid unhealthy snacks. Factors influencing choices about healthy or unhealthy snacks were environment, availability of the snacks, study pressure, health problems, habits, and social activity. The limitation of this study was the small size of the sample, resulting in the fact that no general conclusions could be drawn. The results however, could help school nurses to gain a deeper understanding of university students' snacking patterns. It might also assist school nurses in the development of healthy eating guidance for university students.

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