EDUCATION

College students face high rates of food insecurity

Sep 9, 2022, 11:59 AM | Updated: 1:35 pm
organic food inflation...
Stock photo: Organic fruit stand. If there is a benefit to inflation it might be found at the grocery store, in the organic food section. There, inflation is hitting less hard than in other areas. Photo: Canva

SALT LAKE CITY – As college students start the fall semester, around 40% of them will face food insecurity compared to the 11% the general public faces. This is according to a study by Brigham Young University.

Co-author Rickelle Richards, BYU professor of nutrition, dietetics and food science said that these students lack access to the quantity, quality and variety of foods that make up a healthy diet. 

“For college students in our study, this often manifested as relying on non-perishable foods like ramen noodles, rice and beans when funds were low or when their food supply varied throughout the month or from paycheck to paycheck,” said Richards. 

Richards said some factors are the costs of tuition, housing, rising food prices, general expenditures and the lack of transportation to access affordable foods. 

“Among college students, research has shown a higher risk of food insecurity among first-generation students, community college students,” said Richards. “Students who are working part-time and/or receive financial assistance, students with a low income, students with children, single parents, students of color, and/or students who rent rather than live at home.”

In addition to relying on nutrient-deficient meals, Richards said food insecurity can also manifest into disordered eating patterns leading to obesity or weight loss. 

“They may be more prone to depression and other kinds of psychological distress,” said Richards. “We also see lower academic performance.”

Helping with food insecurity

According to Richards, students have a hard time qualifying for government programs. This includes Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits or food stamps. Some solutions could be found in visiting the university food pantries, fellow students helping others with transportation to grocery stores and checking in on students who may be struggling. 

Some universities have community gardens where students can grow fruits and veggies to take home. Colleges could also allow students to donate extra meal plan funds to others in need, but Richards said it varies on the college. 

“Approaches vary widely because it depends on how the administration is structured and how their programs are funded, but some campuses have task forces or coordinators who help advertise resources and connect students with help,” said Richards. “Whatever the approach is, I think it works best if it’s student-driven.”

Related: 

Today’s Top Stories

Education

Canyon School District student picks glasses...
Samantha Herrera

Canyons School District provide free glasses to elementary school students

The Canyons School District provided about 30 students from East Midvale Elementary with much-needed, free glasses on Thursday.
16 hours ago
DACA march...
Alejandro Lucero

DACA ruled illegal by court, but current “Dreamers” still protected

Current Dreamers are still protected by the law and can continue to renew their applications, but new applicants are barred.
2 days ago
Bishop L. Todd Budge, second counselor in the Presiding Bishopric of The Church of Jesus Christ of ...
Mark Jones

Church leader speaks of caring for the earth at Why It Matters conference

Bishop L. Todd Budge, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaks on caring for the earth Wednesday at the Why it Matters conference in Orem.
3 days ago
Teachers are shown at the Tooele School District...
Ashmita Shanthakumar

Tooele School District launches program to help students experiencing homelessness

The Tooele School District offers resources to students and their families who experience homelessness and take donations to help those in need.
3 days ago
Police in Tooele are looking for an armed robbery suspect that forced three schools into lockdown o...
Mark Jones

Three schools in Tooele went into lockdown Tuesday afternoon

An armed robbery suspect caused three schools in Tooele to go into lockdown on Tuesday afternoon. The lockdown was lifted at the end of the school day. The suspect is still being sought.
4 days ago
Dr. Martin W. Bates was unanimously voted by the Salt Lake City Board of Education to serve as the ...
Mark Jones

Salt Lake City School District names interim superintendent

After the departure of Dr. Timothy Gadson as superintendent, Bates agreed to come out of retirement to serve on in interim basis.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
College students face high rates of food insecurity