Food insecurity on college campuses

Part of the early purpose of is to doodle about the things and ideas that have interested me over the last several years. Theoretically, that process will then lead me to doing something about some of those things. That’s how I expect this to work.

One such thing is food insecurity, specifically on school campuses. Until a few years back, I hadn’t even realized that food insecurity by college students was such a high percentage in some areas.

Emily Frymark devoted her Bachelor’s thesis to food insecurity. It is a quality read. According to her, almost half of college students experience food insecurity in the Appalachia region. She describes the processes through which it is addressed locally through food pantries.

She also says the wider US food insecurity figure on college campuses is somewhere in the 15-30% range, and the long-term consequences of it are rather long. Obviously it’s hard to think and focus when you’re hungry, but it’s so much more than that, that you end up carrying away with you for the rest of your life when you’re in those situations:

“Previous research has demonstrated that people who experience food insecurity are more likely to have negative health outcomes such as: decreased nutrient intake, increased mental health problems and depression, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, poor sleep, and lower self-rated health. Additionally, food insecurity, hunger, or food insufficiency has been associated with lower academic achievement, behavioral and attention problems, and adverse psychosocial development among school- aged and teenage students.”

When I return to this issue, I will look closer at some of the Google Scholar abstracts that I found devoted to food insecurity on campus and which caught my eye. For example, the University of Tennessee Department of Nutrition authored a study, “An Exploratory Analysis of the Lived Experience of Food Insecurity among College Students” that will open some eyes:

“Another female graduate student described how financial burden associated with FI influenced her skipping meals and reducing intake: “I’m not even eating ramen noodles. I’m skipping meals, like there’s no access. So I’m like living on loans right now, which is also a really uncomfortable place to be”.”

In Google Books, I found Experiences of Hunger and Food Insecurity in College, which studies the issue in Texas. A lot of other quality books just on the first page of the Google Books search, too. Take a look.

I found the College and University Food Bank Alliance as an organization that has been tackling this problem for the last 10 years, and which Swipe Out Hunger acquired. Swipe Out Hunger has also been working on the problem, for the last 12 years.

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