Freshmen At A University In Appalachia Experience A Higher Rate Of Campus Than Family Food Insecurity

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kimberly Fasczewski PhD, Assistant Professor (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
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Abstract: Food insecurity means having limited or uncertain access, in socially acceptable ways, to an adequate and safe food supply. Ample evidence has identified college students as vulnerable to this problem, but little research has focused on freshmen. This cross-sectional study examined family and campus food insecurity among freshmen at a university in Appalachia. An online questionnaire contained sociodemographic items and scales that measured food security status, academic progress, coping strategies for accessing food, and social support. T-tests and Chi square analyses compared food insecure and food secure students. Statistical significance was p<.05. Participants were 456 freshmen, 118 males (26%) and 331 females (73%). Family and campus food insecurity were experienced by 32 (7.1%) and 98 (21.5%) of the freshmen, respectively, and 42.5% of those who experienced campus food insecurity believed their food access had worsened since starting college. Family and campus coping strategies, respectively, included stretching food (72.9 vs. 18.4%) and purchasing cheap, processed food (68.8 vs. 16.3%). Food secure students scored significantly higher on self-rated measures of academic progress (p<.01), and greater proportions of food secure students (60.7 vs. 43.9%, p<.01) perceived their eating habits since starting college as “healthy/very healthy,” and perceived their health status as “good/ excellent” (86.0 vs. 71.4%, p<.01). Students requested assistance with job opportunities (19.4%), affordable meal plans (18.4%), money management (13.3%), and eating healthy (11.2%). Findings suggest that college student food insecurity begins during the freshmen year, and that there is a need for campus and community-based interventions to increase food access among these freshmen and their families.

Additional Information

McArthur, L. H., et al. (2018). "Freshmen at a University in Appalachia Experience a Higher Rate of Campus than Family Food Insecurity." Journal of Community Health 43(5): 969-976. Publisher version of record available at:
Language: English
Date: 2018
Food insecurity, College freshmen, Appalachia, Coping strategies, Academic progress

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