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Advances in Preventive Medicine
Volume 2015, Article ID 639239, 8 pages
Research Article

Eating Behaviours of British University Students: A Cluster Analysis on a Neglected Issue

1Department of Physical Education and Sport Studies, Newman University, Genners Lane, Bartley Green, Birmingham B32 3NT, UK
2Department of Psychology & Counselling, Newman University, Genners Lane, Bartley Green, Birmingham B32 3NT, UK
3Faculty of Health and Social Care, University of Chester, Castle Drive, Chester CH1 1SL, UK

Received 30 June 2015; Revised 15 September 2015; Accepted 16 September 2015

Academic Editor: Masaru Shimada

Copyright © 2015 Jina Tanton et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Unhealthy diet is a primary risk factor for noncommunicable diseases. University student populations are known to engage in health risking lifestyle behaviours including risky eating behaviours. The purpose of this study was to examine eating behaviour patterns in a population of British university students using a two-step cluster analysis. Consumption prevalence of snack, convenience, and fast foods in addition to fruit and vegetables was measured using a self-report “Student Eating Behaviours” questionnaire on 345 undergraduate university students. Four clusters were identified: “risky eating behaviours,” “mixed eating behaviours,” “moderate eating behaviours,” and “favourable eating behaviours.” Nineteen percent of students were categorised as having “favourable eating behaviours” whilst just under a third of students were categorised within the two most risky clusters. Riskier eating behaviour patterns were associated with living on campus and Christian faith. The findings of this study highlight the importance of university microenvironments on eating behaviours in university student populations. Religion as a mediator of eating behaviours is a novel finding.