Background Food insecurity is a persistent public health concern; however, few studies have examined the factors related to food insecurity among college students, particularly college freshmen living in dormitories. Objective Our aim was to examine the prevalence of food insecurity and associations with health outcomes among college freshmen. Design A diverse sample of freshmen (n=209) attending a large southwestern university and living in campus residence halls completed online surveys. Anthropometrics were measured by trained staff. Statistical analyses Using mixed logistic regression, associations were examined between food insecurity and health outcomes, adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics and clustering of students within residence halls. Results Food insecurity was prevalent, with 32% reporting inconsistent access to food in the past month and 37% in the past 3 months. Food-insecure freshmen had higher odds of depression (odds ratio=2.97; 95% CI 1.58 to 5.60) compared to food-secure students. Food-insecure freshmen had significantly lower odds of eating breakfast, consuming home-cooked meals, perceiving their off-campus eating habits to be healthy, and receiving food from parents (P<0.05). Conclusions Interventions are needed to support students struggling with food insecurity, as it is related to health outcomes.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
FUNDING/SUPPORT This study was supported by the National Institutes of Health Common Fund from the Office of the Director and the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, grant number 1DP5OD017910-01 (Principal Investigator: M. Bruening). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Health.
© 2016 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
- College students
- Eating behaviors
- Food insecurity