Prevalence and social determinants of food insecurity among college students during the COVID-19 pandemic

Meghan R. Owens, Francilia Brito-Silva, Tracie Kirkland, Carolyn E. Moore, Kathleen E. Davis, Mindy A. Patterson, Derek C. Miketinas, Wesley J. Tucker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has increased unemployment and food insecurity in the United States (US). Prior to the pandemic, college students exhibited higher rates of food insecurity than nonstudent households. The objectives of this study were to assess the prevalence and determinants of food insecurity among college students during the COVID-19 pandemic. We administered an online survey to 651 students on three diverse campuses at a state-funded university in Texas, US, in May 2020. Food security was assessed using a multistep approach that included the 2-item Food Sufficiency Screener and 6-Item USDA Food Security Survey Module (FSSM). Overall, 34.5% of respondents were classified as food insecure within the last 30 days. The strongest predictors of food insecurity were change in current living arrangement (OR = 2.70, 95% CI: 2.47, 2.95), being furloughed (OR = 3.22, 95% CI: 2.86, 3.64), laid off (OR = 4.07, 95% CI: 3.55, 4.66), or losing part-time work (OR = 5.73, 95% CI: 5.09, 6.46) due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These findings highlight the high prevalence of food insecurity among college students during the COVID-19 pandemic, with students who experienced housing insecurity and/or loss of income due to the pandemic being impacted the most.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2515
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalNutrients
Volume12
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2020

Keywords

  • Coronavirus
  • Females
  • Food security
  • Housing insecurity
  • Hunger
  • Unemployment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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    Owens, M. R., Brito-Silva, F., Kirkland, T., Moore, C. E., Davis, K. E., Patterson, M. A., Miketinas, D. C., & Tucker, W. J. (2020). Prevalence and social determinants of food insecurity among college students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nutrients, 12(9), 1-17. [2515]. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12092515