Food access and eating patterns by Makerere University undergraduate students living in hostels
Ajilong, Lilian Scovia
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Whereas students who are in other accommodations easily access food, students at hostel find it hard to access food. Therefore, the study aimed at investigating how Makerere University undergraduate students living in hostels access food and their subsequent eating patterns. The study used a cross-sectional design and combined quantitative and qualitative methods to collect the desired data. Data was collected in November 2022from 80 randomly sampled respondents, and four purposively select restaurant owners operating around Makerere University. Quantitative data was analysed using SPSS computer software while qualitative data was analysed thematically. The key findings show that most students eat local food compared to fast foods. The students usually carry certain types of food from home (such as cereals and flours) but resort to the markets when such stocks run out. However, supplementary foods like vegetables and source (such as meat or fish) from the markets throughout the semester. Due to this form of access dominated by the market, the main challenges students face are high food prices leading to financial stress. This affects the eating patterns and learning environment of students especially when their families do not reach out to them in time. In conclusion, Makerere university students staying in hostels face challenges of food access while at school and this forces them to eat whatever is available and affordable to them. It is important for their families to always re-stock students’ food items at the beginning of and during the semester to facilitate their better learning environment.