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Food Insecurity among College Students in the United States: A Scoping Review.

Published on Oct 23, 2019in Advances in Nutrition7.24
· DOI :10.1093/ADVANCES/NMZ111
Cassandra J. Nikolaus5
Estimated H-index: 5
(WSU: Washington State University),
Cassandra J. Nikolaus1
Estimated H-index: 1
(WSU: Washington State University)
+ 1 AuthorsSharon M. Nickols-Richardson23
Estimated H-index: 23
(UIUC: University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign)
Sources
Abstract
Reports of college students experiencing food insecurity (FI), defined as inadequate access, availability, adequacy, and stability of food, have sparked national calls for alleviation and prevention policies. However, there are a wide variety of FI rates reported across studies and even among recent literature reviews. The current scoping review aimed to develop a weighted estimated prevalence of FI among US students using a comprehensive search approach. In addition, study characteristics that may be related to the high variability in reported FI prevalence were explored. To address these aims, the peer-reviewed and gray literature on US college student FI was systematically searched to identify 12,044 nonduplicated records. A total of 51 study samples, across 62 records, met inclusion criteria and were included in the current review. The quality of the included studies was moderate, with an average rate of 6.4 on a scale of 0-10. Convenience (45%) and census (30%) sampling approaches were common; only 4 study samples were based on representative sampling strategies. FI estimates ranged from 10% to 75%. It was common for very low security to be as prevalent as, or more prevalent than, low food security. The surveying protocols used in the studies were related to the FI estimates. The USDA Short Form Food Security Survey Module (FSSM; 50%) and the USDA Adult FSSM (40%) prevalence estimates were larger than for the full USDA Household FSSM (13%). When these surveys referenced a 12-mo period, FI estimates were 31%. This was a lower FI estimate than surveys using reference periods of 9 mo or shorter (47%). The results indicate that FI is a pressing issue among college students, but the variation in prevalence produced by differing surveys suggests that students may be misclassified with current surveying methods. Psychometric testing of these surveys when used with college students is warranted.
  • References (59)
  • Citations (3)
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References59
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#1Aydin Nazmi (California Polytechnic State University)H-Index: 14
#2Suzanna M. Martinez (University of California, Berkeley)H-Index: 16
Last. Lorrene D. Ritchie (University of California, Berkeley)H-Index: 23
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ABSTRACTAccumulating evidence suggests that food insecurity in US colleges and universities is higher than in US households, making this a new public health priority. We conducted a systematic revi...
15 CitationsSource
#1Aseel El Zein (UF: University of Florida)H-Index: 2
#2Karla P. Shelnutt (UF: University of Florida)H-Index: 12
Last. Anne E. Mathews (UF: University of Florida)H-Index: 10
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College students may be vulnerable to food insecurity due to limited financial resources, decreased buying power of federal aid, and rising costs of tuition, housing, and food. This study assessed the prevalence of food insecurity and its sociodemographic, health, academic, and food pantry correlates among first-year college students in the United States. A cross-sectional study was conducted among first-year students (n = 855) across eight U.S. universities. Food security status was assessed us...
1 CitationsSource
#1Cassandra J. Nikolaus (UIUC: University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign)H-Index: 5
#2Brenna Ellison (UIUC: University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign)H-Index: 9
Last. Sharon M. Nickols-Richardson (UIUC: University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign)H-Index: 23
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A growing body of literature suggests that post-secondary students experience food insecurity (FI) at greater rates than the general population. However, these rates vary dramatically across institutions and studies. FI assessment methods commonly used in studies with college students have not been scrutinized for psychometric properties, and varying protocols may influence resulting FI prevalence estimates. The objective of this study was to assess the performance of standard food security asse...
2 CitationsSource
#1Laura H. McArthur (ASU: Appalachian State University)H-Index: 4
#2Kimberly S. Fasczewski (ASU: Appalachian State University)H-Index: 4
Last. Jordan Miller (ASU: Appalachian State University)H-Index: 1
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Food insecurity means having limited or uncertain access, in socially acceptable ways, to an adequate and safe food supply. Ample evidence has identified college students as vulnerable to this problem, but little research has focused on freshmen. This cross-sectional study examined family and campus food insecurity among freshmen at a university in Appalachia. An online questionnaire contained sociodemographic items and scales that measured food security status, academic progress, coping strateg...
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In order to investigate the impact of food insecurity on college students in a highly health disparate region we (1) assessed the prevalence of food insecurity among young adults at a large, rural university in Appalachia, and (2) investigated the relationship between food insecurity and behavioral characteristics including academic performance, coping strategies, and money expenditure. A cross-sectional design was used to capture a representative sample of young adults attending a large, centra...
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#1Devon Payne-Sturges (UMD: University of Maryland, College Park)H-Index: 15
#2Allison Tjaden (UMD: University of Maryland, College Park)H-Index: 1
Last. Amelia M. Arria (UMD: University of Maryland, College Park)H-Index: 53
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Purpose:To estimate the prevalence of food insecurity among students at a large mid-Atlantic publicly funded university; examine the association between food insecurity, demographic characteristics, potential financial risk factors, and self-reported physical and mental health and academic performance; and identify possible risk factors for food insecurity.Design:Cross-sectional survey.Setting:Large, public mid-Atlantic university.Participants:Two hundred thirty-seven undergraduate students.Meas...
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#1Meg Bruening (ASU: Arizona State University)H-Index: 17
#2Irene van Woerden (ASU: Arizona State University)H-Index: 5
Last. Melissa N. Laska (UMN: University of Minnesota)H-Index: 35
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To examine longitudinal associations between food insecurity (FI) and health behaviors/outcomes among a diverse sample of university freshmen. Freshman students (n = 1138; 65% female; 49% non-white) participating in the Social impact of Physical Activity and nutRition in College study completed surveys on health behaviors and had height/weight measured up to 4 times (T1-T4) in Arizona during 2015–2016. Structural equation models were estimated to determine if, after adjusting for covariates, FI ...
19 CitationsSource
#1Suzanna M. Martinez (University of California, Berkeley)H-Index: 16
#2Karen L. Webb (University of California, Berkeley)H-Index: 17
Last. Lorrene D. Ritchie (University of California, Berkeley)H-Index: 23
view all 4 authors...
ABSTRACTFood insecurity among college students has become a public health concern, yet few studies have examined the sample prevalence in a statewide public university system. We determined the sample prevalence of food insecurity and associated factors among students in a large California university system. In Spring 2015, a sample of graduate and undergraduate students (n = 8705) at 10 University of California campuses completed an online survey of demographic information and a range of studen...
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#1Katharine M. Broton (UI: University of Iowa)H-Index: 4
#2Sara Goldrick-Rab (TU: Temple University)H-Index: 17
The rising price of higher education and its implications for equity and accessibility have been extensively documented, but the material conditions of students’ lives are often overlooked. Data from more than 30,000 two- and 4-year college students indicate that approximately half are food insecure, and recent estimates suggest that at least 20% of 2-year college students have very low levels of food security. At least one-third of 2-year students are housing insecure, including up to 14% who a...
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#1Laura H. McArthur (ASU: Appalachian State University)H-Index: 4
#2Lanae Ball (ASU: Appalachian State University)H-Index: 1
Last. Donald Holbert (ECU: East Carolina University)H-Index: 16
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Abstract Objectives To measure prevalence and correlates of food insecurity among college students in Appalachia, compare food-insecure and food-secure students on correlates, and identify predictor variables. Design Cross-sectional, online questionnaire. Setting University in Appalachia. Participants Nonprobability, random sample of 1,093 students (317 male [30.1%]; 723 females [68.4%]). Main Outcome Measures Food insecurity, coping strategies, money expenditure, academic progress, and demograp...
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#1Melissa D. Olfert (WVU: West Virginia University)H-Index: 12
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The sharing of college food insecurity data with higher education administrators and stakeholders is essential to increase awareness of campus-specific food insecurity outcomes. This study utilized the evidence-Based forecast C-capture, A-assemble, S-sustain, T-timelessness (eB4CAST) approach to develop campus-specific food insecurity reports for researchers involved in a multi-institutional food insecurity study. eB4CAST reports were developed for each higher education institution (n = 22). The...
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Background: Students pursuing postsecondary education are a population described as vulnerable for sleep problems, poor dietary habits, weight gain, and reduced physical activity. The primary goal of this study was to examine relationships of sleep behaviors with eating and physical activity behaviors in a sample of undergraduate health sciences students. Methods: Using a cross-sectional design, undergraduate health sciences students in a small Canadian university were recruited to complete an o...
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#1Cassandra J. Nikolaus (WSU: Washington State University)H-Index: 5
#1Cassandra J. Nikolaus (WSU: Washington State University)H-Index: 1
Last. Sharon M. Nickols-Richardson (UIUC: University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign)H-Index: 23
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Food insecurity (FI) – the lack of sufficient access to food to maintain a healthy lifestyle – among college (i.e. post-secondary or higher education institution) students has become a prominent issue in the U.S. However, it is not clear if high rates of FI among students are due to the modern experience in higher education institutions or due to underlying issues in common surveying methods. To understand if there were underlying content validity issues, the present study had two primary resear...
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