Document Type


Publication Date



Nutrition and Food Systems



A number of studies have measured college student food insecurity prevalence higher than the national average; however, no multicampus regional study among students at 4-y institutions has been undertaken in the Appalachian and Southeast regions of the United States. Objectives

The aims of this study were to determine the prevalence of food insecurity among college students in the Appalachian and Southeastern regions of the United States, and to determine the association between food-insecurity status and money expenditures, coping strategies, and academic performance among a regional sample of college students. Methods

This regional, cross-sectional, online survey study included 13,642 college students at 10 public universities. Food-insecurity status was measured through the use of the USDA Adult Food Security Survey. The outcomes were associations between food insecurity and behaviors determined with the use of the money expenditure scale (MES), the coping strategy scale (CSS), and the academic progress scale (APS). A forward-selection logistic regression model was used with all variables significant from individual Pearson chi-square and Wilcoxon analyses. The significance criterion α for all tests was 0.05. Results

The prevalence of food insecurity at the universities ranged from 22.4% to 51.8% with an average prevalence of 30.5% for the full sample. From the forward-selection logistic regression model, MES (OR: 1.47; 95% CI: 1.40, 1.55), CSS (OR: 1.19; 95% CI: 1.18, 1.21), and APS (OR: 0.95; 95% CI: 0.91, 0.99) scores remained significant predictors of food insecurity. Grade point average, academic year, health, race/ethnicity, financial aid, cooking frequency, and health insurance also remained significant predictors of food security status. Conclusions

Food insecurity prevalence was higher than the national average. Food-insecure college students were more likely to display high money expenditures and exhibit coping behaviors, and to have poor academic performance.


Published by Current Developments in Nutrition at 10.1093/cdn/nzz058.

Publication Title

Current Developments in Nutrition





First Page


Last Page


Find in your library

Included in

Nutrition Commons