CORVALLIS, Ore. One of the few studies of its type has found that a startling 59 percent of college students at one Oregon university were "food insecure" at some point during the previous year, with possible implications for academic success, physical and emotional health and other issues.
Contrary to concerns about obesity and some students packing on "the freshman 15" in weight gain, another reality is that many students are not getting enough healthy food to eat as they struggle with high costs, limited income, and fewer food or social support systems than are available to other groups.
The findings were published recently in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, by researchers from Oregon State University, the Benton County Health Department, and Western Oregon University. Students at Western Oregon were surveyed as the basis for the study.
"Based on other research that's been done, we expected some amount of food concerns among college students," said Daniel Lpez-Cevallos, associate director of research at OSU's Center for Latino/a Studies and Engagement. "But it was shocking to find food insecurity of this severity. Several recent trends may be combining to cause this."
The researchers said a combination of rising college costs, more low-income and first-generation students attending college, and changing demographic trends are making this issue more significant than it may have been in the past.
"For past generations, students living on a lean budget might have just considered it part of the college experience, a transitory thing," said Megan Patton-Lpez, lead author of the study with Oregon's Benton County Health Department.
"But rising costs of education are now affecting more people," she said. "And for many of these students who are coming from low-income families and attending college for the first time, this may be a continuation of food insecurity they've known before. It be
|Contact: Daniel López-Cevallos|
Oregon State University