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Molecular, Cellular and Biomedical Sciences
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In 2014, 7.9 million children lived in households where both children and adults were food insecure. As college students are excluded from national surveillance data, it is difficult to characterize the prevalence of food insecurity among this population. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of food insecurity among college students and contributing factors. A 31-item online survey was developed by combining the USDA 6-item Short Form U.S. Household Food Security Survey, the USDA Child Food Security Survey, and UNH-specific questions related to food access. The online survey was sent to students in fall 2015 (n=943, 79% female, 92% white, 20% first generation). Survey results indicate that, during the past year, 7.5% of students (>18 years) reported experiencing very low food security, 17.7% reported low food security and 9.6% reported marginal food security. During their childhood, 6.4% of students reported very low food security, 12.7% low food security and 9.6% reported marginal food security. In elementary, middle, and high school, 16.6% of students surveyed qualified for free and reduced-priced school breakfast/lunch. Students were most likely to rank educational expenses as the highest priority, food was second leading highest priority (56% vs. 36%, p<0.01). This research shows that food insecurity impacts a significant number of UNH students. Further research is warranted to assess the prevalence on other college campuses and identify sustainable solutions.
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Davidson, Alana R., "Assessing Hunger Issues Among University of New Hampshire Students" (2016). Undergraduate Research Conference (URC) Student Presentations. 6.