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High Prevalence of Food Insecurity and Related Disparities Among US College and University Students From 2015–2019

Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior / November 2023

Female students cooking

The authors examined food insecurity prevalence among college students included as part of a large, ongoing, nationally representative survey and examined trends and associations with sociodemographic measures. Data come from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, a nationally representative longitudinal household panel survey, and include 2,538 college students from 2015–2019. Food security status was assessed using the US Department of Agriculture's 18-item Household Food Security Survey Module. From 2015 to 2019, 11% of college students experienced marginal food security, and 15% experienced food insecurity. Food insecurity was 12% in 2015 and 14% in 2017 and 2019. More Black and Hispanic students experienced food insecurity than White students (21% and 26%, vs 9%, respectively; P <0.001), as did first-generation than non-first-generation students (18% vs 10%; P = 0.01). College food insecurity is an urgent public health issue demanding greater response from colleges and universities and state and federal governments.