Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition, Aging and Chronic Disease, Obesity
Objectives : To estimate the prevalence of food insecurity and to examine its correlates among students at an urban commuter-college.
Methods : Cross-sectional survey of 450 students enrolled at an urban commuter-college. Chi-square test was used to assess differences in socio-demographics characteristics, overweight/obesity status, fruit and vegetable consumption and perceived stress by food security level.
Results : Among students surveyed, 25.6% were food insecure with 12.2% having low food security and 13.3% having very low food security. The rate of food insecurity was significantly higher in black (55.6%) and Hispanic (52.7%) students compared to white (17.7%) and Asian (28.2%) students (p< 0.01). Older students (25-40 y) were also more likely to be food insecure than younger (≤25 y) students (42.5% vs. 28.1%; p=0.02). There were no significant differences in fruit and vegetable consumption, overweight/obese status or perceived stress among food secure and food insecure students.
Conclusions : Food insecurity was found to be a prevalent problem in this sample, particularly in older, Black and Hispanic students. Colleges and universities must provide options and resources for low-income students to help increase access to and affordability of nutritious foods.
Funding Sources : "This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number ____________. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture."