What is the relationship between food insecurity and college students aged 18-22 and its effects on academic performance and how can proper nutrition be promoted?
Janelle de Dios
Dominican University of California
Food insecurity is defined as the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods. It can also be defined as the limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in ..more »
Food insecurity is defined as the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods. It can also be defined as the limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways. Previous research has observed that food insecurity can disrupt optimal development throughout the life cycle. A growing body of literature has documented the effects of food insecurity on cognitive, academic, and psychosocial development among college students. These studies consistently observed that food insecurity is associated with lower academic performance, poor health, and decreased psychosocial function. Among college students, financial hardship can translate into budget demands, such as tuition, textbooks, housing, utilities, and healthcare. These budget demands compete with money that can be used to purchase food. Over the past 30 years, the price of higher education has steadily outpaced inflation, the cost of living, and medical expenses. Food insecurity, as a potential consequence of the increasing cost of higher education, can be considered a major student health priority. College students face life-changing milestones during their transition to adulthood that may have long-lasting effects. Food insecurity during these years can potentially affect college students' cognitive, academic, and psychosocial development. Studies addressing food insecurity among college students suggest a higher prevalence of food insecurity compared with the general population. A previous study conducted in Hawai'i found that 45% of students were food insecure or at risk of food insecurity. The purpose of the current study was to further analyze the prevalence of food insecurity and identifying its correlates among students
Olivia Catolico, Ph.D., RN, CNL, BC