Skip to main content Accesibility Help
×
×
Home

Assessing food insecurity prevalence and associated factors among college students enrolled in a university in the Southeast USA

  • Ruth Wooten (a1), Marsha Spence (a1), Sarah Colby (a1) and Elizabeth Anderson Steeves (a1)
Abstract
Objective

To assess rates of food insecurity (FI) among college students enrolled at a large public university system across one US state and identify factors associated with experiencing FI.

Design

Cross-sectional online survey administered to eligible, enrolled students (n 38 614) across three campuses within the university system, with 5593 students responding (4824 final sample after applying exclusion criteria, 12·5 % response rate). FI was assessed using the US Department of Agriculture’s Adult Food Security Survey Module. Descriptive statistics were conducted to calculate FI status and identify sample characteristics. Associations between FI status and independent variables were assessed using bivariate analyses (χ2 and ANOVA tests) and multivariate logistic regression.

Setting

Large public university system, Southeast USA.

Participants

Enrolled college students (excluding freshman, <18 years of age).

Results

Thirty-six per cent of students were classified as FI. After controlling for confounders, factors that were significantly associated with increased likelihood of FI included previous FI (P<0·001; OR=4·78), financial factors and self-reported grade point average ≤3·85. Seniors were significantly more likely experience FI than graduate students (P=0·004, OR=1·41). A significant relationship was not identified between FI and meal plan participation, and no differences in FI were found between graduate students and individuals with sophomore or junior standing.

Conclusions

This research identifies high rates of FI among college students enrolled in a large public university system in the Southeast USA, as well as selected factors related to FI. Programmes to assist college students experiencing FI need to be developed and tested.

Copyright
Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Email eander24@utk.edu
References
Hide All
1. Coleman-Jensen, A, Rabbitt, , Matthew, P et al. (2017) Household Food Security in the United States in 2016. Economic Research Report no. ERR-237. Washington, DC: US Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
2. Adams, EJ, Grummer-Strawn, L & Chavez, G (2003) Food insecurity is associated with increased risk of obesity in California women. J Nutr 133, 10701074.
3. Townsend, MS, Peerson, J, Love, B et al. (2001) Food insecurity is positively related to overweight in women. J Nutr 131, 17381745.
4. Nord, M & Prell, M (2017) Struggling to feed the family: What does it mean to be food insecure? Amber Waves. https://www.ers.usda.gov/amber-waves/2007/june/struggling-to-feed-the-family-what-does-it-mean-to-be-food-insecure/ (accessed November 2017).
5. Jyoti, DF, Frongillo, EA & Jones, SJ (2005) Food insecurity affects school children’s academic performance, weight gain, and social skills. J Nutr 135, 28312839.
6. Kleinman, RE, Murphy, JM, Little, M et al. (1998) Hunger in children in the United States: potential behavioral and emotional correlates. Pediatrics 101, e3.
7. Rose, D (1999) Economic determinants and dietary consequences of food insecurity in the United States. J Nutr 129, 2S Suppl., 517520.
8. Cason, KL & Wenrich, TR (2002) Health and nutrition beliefs, attitudes, and practices of undergraduate college students: a needs assessment. Top Clin Nutr 17, 5270.
9. Greaney, ML, Less, FD, White, AA et al. (2009) College students’ barriers and enablers for healthful weight management: a qualitative study. J Nutr Educ Behav 41, 281286.
10. Pancer, SM, Hunsberger, B, Pratt, MW et al. (2000) Cognitive complexity of expectations and adjustment to university in the first year. J Adolesc Res 15, 3857.
11. US Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (2018) Digest of Education Statistics, 2016. Chapter 3: Postsecondary education. https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d16/ch_3.asp (accessed November 2017).
12. Gaines, A, Robb, CA, Knol, LL et al. (2014) Examining the role of financial factors, resources and skills in predicting food security status among college students. Int J Consum Stud 38, 374384.
13. Maroto, ME, Snelling, A & Linck, H (2015) Food insecurity among community college students: prevalence and association with grade point average. Community Coll J Res Pract 39, 515526.
14. Bruening, M, Brennhofer, S, van Woerden, I et al. (2016) Factors related to the high rates of food insecurity among diverse, urban college freshmen. J Acad Nutr Diet 116, 14501457.
15. Bruening, M, van Woerden, I, Todd, M et al. (2018) Hungry to learn: the prevalence and effects of food insecurity on health behaviors and outcomes over time among a diverse sample of university freshmen. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 15, 9.
16. Chaparro, MP, Zaghloul, SS, Holck, P et al. (2009) Food insecurity prevalence among college students at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. Public Health Nutr 12, 20972103.
17. Mirabitur, E, Peterson, KE, Rathz, C et al. (2016) Predictors of college-student food security and fruit and vegetable intake differ by housing type. J Am Coll Health 64, 555564.
18. Morris, LM, Smith, S, Davis, J et al. (2016) The prevalence of food security and insecurity among Illinois university students. J Nutr Educ Behav 48, 376382.e1.
19. Patton-Lopez, MM, Lopez-Cevallos, DF, Cancel-Tirado, DI et al. (2014) Prevalence and correlates of food insecurity among students attending a midsize rural university in Oregon. J Nutr Educ Behav 46, 209214.
20. McArthur, LH, Ball, L, Danek, AC et al. (2018) A high prevalence of food insecurity among university students in Appalachia reflects a need for educational interventions and policy advocacy. J Nutr Educ Behav 50, 564572.
21. Payne-Sturges, DC, Tjaden, A, Caldeira, KM et al. (2018) Student hunger on campus: food insecurity among college students and implications for academic institutions. Am J Health Promot 32, 349354.
22. Bruening, M, Argo, K, Payne-Sturges, D et al. (2017) The struggle is real: a systematic review of food insecurity on postsecondary education campuses. J Acad Nutr Diet 117, 17671791.
23. Thomas, S (2004) Using Web and Paper Questionnaires for Data-Based Decision Making. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.
24. Lin, M-T, Peters, RJ Jr, Ford, K et al. (2013) The relationship between perceived psychological distress, behavioral indicators and African-American female college student food insecurity. Am J Health Stud 28, 127.
25. The University of Tennessee (2017) Annual Report to the General Assembly 2017. http://president.tennessee.edu/static/annual-report/2017/2017-annual-report-pages.pdf (accessed December 2018).
26. Trespalacios, JH & Perkins, RA (2016) Effects of personalization and invitation email length on web-based survey response rates. TechTrends 60, 330335.
27. Hager, ER, Quigg, AM, Black, MM et al. (2010) Development and validity of a 2-item screen to identify families at risk for food insecurity. Pediatrics 126, e26e32.
28. US Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service (2013) Guide to measuring household food security (revised 2000). http://www.fns.usda.gov/guide-measuring-household-food-security-revised-2000 (accessed November 2016).
29. Irony, T, Li, Caiyan & Silverman, P (2012) Statistical methods in clinical trials. In Statistical Methods in Healthcare, 1st ed., pp. 3839 [F Faltin, R Kennett and F Ruggeri, editors]. Chichester : John Wiley & Sons.
30. Stommel, MP & Stommel, M (2014) Statistics for Advanced Practice Nurses and Health Professionals, 1st ed. New York: Springer Publishing Company.
31. The University of Tennessee, Martin (2018) Statistical reports. https://www.utm.edu/departments/irp/statistical_reports.php (accessed September 2018).
32. The University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Institutional Research (2018) Factbook tables. https://www.utc.edu/planning-evaluation-institutional-research/factbook/index.php (accessed September 2018).
33. The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (2018) Enrollment data: 2017–2018. https://oira.utk.edu/reporting/fact-book/ (accessed September 2018).
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
  • URL: /core/journals/public-health-nutrition
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed