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International Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences

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Background: College students have identified frequent unhealthy snacking from vending machines as influencing their dietary intake and weight status. However, research on associations between vending usage and weight status is lacking. Objectives: 1.) Compare college students’ demographic characteristics by frequency of vending machine usage (FVU) and body mass index (BMI). 2.) Determine associations between FVU and BMI levels among college students. Methods: Using a cross-sectional study design, a convenience sample of college students (n=110) completed an online survey providing demographics, height and weight, and FVU – categorized as “none” (never or rarely), “low” (less than once per month, or “high” (once per month or more). Demographics were analyzed using descriptive statistics with comparisons by FVU and BMI levels. Associations between FVU and BMI levels, alone and controlling for sex and race/ethnicity, were tested using a proportional odds logistic model. Results: The majority of participants were in the lowest FVU (50%) and normal BMI (56%; M=24.2 kg/m2) levels. BMI was significantly different by FVU levels (p=.012). Logistic regression indicated the highest FVU category was associated with a 4.6 times greater odds of being overweight or obese (p=0.001). Conclusion: This study described a significant relationship between higher levels of FVU and higher levels of BMI among college students. This formative evidence can inform future vending interventions in this population.

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