Online Program

Food insecurity among community college students: Prevalence and relationship to student energy and concentration

Monday, November 4, 2013

Maya Maroto, EdD, MPH, RD, School of Education, Teaching, and Health, American University, Washington, DC
INTRODUCTION: Prior research indicates that food insecurity has adverse effects on adult cognition and child academic performance. Food insecurity is more common among African Americans and low-income individuals and both of these groups are overrepresented at U.S. community colleges. Research on food insecurity among community college students is sparse in the published literature.

This study investigated the prevalence of food insecurity among community college students and the relationship between food insecurity and student energy and concentration level.

METHODS: Data were collected using a survey at two community colleges in Maryland; one located in a low income urban area (n=150) and one located in an affluent suburban area (n=151).

Food insecurity was assessed using the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Household Food Security Survey Module (HFSSM). Students also reported their energy and concentration levels, demographic and living situation information.

RESULTS: Over 50% of the students in the overall sample were food insecure. Food insecurity affected 59% of students at the urban community college and 53% of students at the suburban community college. Food insecurity was significantly associated with lower student energy and concentration levels in the overall sample and at the urban community college.

DISCUSSION: Data suggest that food insecurity may be an issue for a large percentage of the community college population, regardless of the income of the surrounding area. Food insecurity may have adverse effects on students' ability to succeed in college and is a factor to be considered by college administrators, faculty and students.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the prevalence of food insecurity among a sample of community college students Discuss the impacts of food insecurity on student energy and concentration Describe the possible implications of food insecurity on community college student success

Keyword(s): Food Security, Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I completed this original research project for the completion of my dissertation research for a doctorate of education degree. My interest is in food insecurity, nutrition and health disparities.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.