Youngstown State University has very few healthy food options on and around campus. Youngstown also lacks a grocery store, classifying the city as a food desert.
When on campus, students can choose from Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Dunkin’, Starbucks, Chipotle, Chick-fil-a, Hot Heads, Jimmy Johns and Taco Bell — just to name a few.
These places offer very few healthy options. The main goal of these restaurants is to make quick, tasty food that appeals to the majority of the population. Obviously, the most popular menu item is not going to be a salad.
Not to mention, salads at fast-food restaurants are usually low-quality since they are not a popular item. In the height of the pandemic, McDonald’s actually halted its sales of salads because the company sold so few of them. It was losing money due to all the lettuce it was wasting.
In addition to a lack of healthy food, there is also a lack of options for those with food allergies or sensitivities. Several members of The Jambar editorial team are gluten-sensitive, and we have very limited menu options on campus. Those with severe nut allergies also face difficulties finding uncontaminated food.
Some college students are too busy to pack a lunch every day, and those who commute may occasionally forget.
For those who live on campus and have a car, the nearest grocery store is in Liberty.
About 35% of college students are considered overweight or obese, According to the National College Health Risk Behavior Survey.
The National Center for Health Statistics published a study in 2018 which covered fast-food consumption of adults from 2013 to 2016. The study found 45% of adults ages 20-39 eat fast-food on any given day.
Having limited, unhealthy food options allows YSU to continue contributing to this statistic.