insecure or at risk of food insecurity,
whereas another study in Australiafound that almost 72% of studentswere food insecure.
No such studieshave been conducted in the continen-tal US or in rural areas. The purposeof the current study was to addressthis gap in the literature by analyzingthe prevalence of food insecurity andidentifying its correlates among stu-dents attending a rural university inOregon.
Design and Participants
The authors distributed a cross-sectional, nonprobability, Web-based, 40-item survey via e-mail toall students (N
5,438) attending amidsizeruraluniversityinwesternOr-egon during May, 2011. A total of 354students completed the survey (7%response rate). The e-mail containedan informed consent form and pro-vided a link to the survey where par-ticipants con
rmed consent beforebeginning the survey. The study waspart of a broader effort to increase ac-cess to food among students oncampus. The online survey was openfor a 2-week period during whichweekly reminders were sent.
Thestudy protocol was approved by theinstitutional review board at thisuniversity.
Based on previous research,
relevant factors associated with foodinsecurity among university studentswere included. Q uestions regarding
credit card debt,
were also added.Table 1 shows the correlates used inthis model.
The researchers used the US House-hold Food Security Survey Module:6-Item Short Form to measure foodinsecurity status.
The 6-item scalehas been shown to have reasonablyhigh speci
city and sensitivity andminimal bias with respect to the 18-item measure.
The 6 items of thefood security scale were reduced to 2categories: 0
food secure and 1
The internal consis-tency of the scale (Cronbach
.83)was similar to a previous study thatused the same 6-item scale.
Summary statistics were calculated forall variables included in this study.The researchers used chi-square good-ness-of-
t tests to compare the
t of the sample with selected campus-widedemographic characteristics providedby the university's registrar of
ce. A 2-step multivariate logistic regressionmodelwasbuilttoevaluatetheassocia-tion between correlates and food inse-curity status (step 1), adjusting forsociodemographic factors (step 2). Allanalyses were conducted using Stata11 (StataCorp, College Station, TX,2009). The Hosmer-Lemeshow test
Table 2 presents the summary statis-tics for all variables included inthe study. The sample was representa-tive of the student population atthis university for full-time(
goodness of fit
.75), under-graduate (
goodness of fit
.16), and Latino students(
goodness of fit
.26)butover-represented female students(
goodness of fit
.01). Lessthan a third of the sample reportedresiding on-campus (29%). Thosewho reported residing off-campuseither lived with roommates (35%)or had other arrangements (36%),such as living by themselves (18%)or with their parents (4%). Half of the students (50.3%) said they had ajob in addition to attending college.Those who reported the number of hours worked (n
164) worked anaverage of 18.2 h/wk (SD, 9.3 h/wk).The majority of students (79%) re-ported having health insurance,which was obtained primarily fromtheir parents (67%) or the university(22%). Few students (12%) reportedhavingnocreditcarddebt.Themajor-ity of participants were female (73%),single (73%), and 18
24 years of age(72%). Eight percent reported beingHispanic or Latino.Food insecurity affected 59% of students. Participation in food assis-tance programs (emergency foodfrom a church, food pantry/bank, oremergency kitchen; Special Supple-mental Nutrition Program forWomen, Infants and Children; Sup-plemental Nutrition Assistance Pro-gram [SNAP]/food stamps; or privateorganizations) reached 27% of thesample. Most of these were SNAP re-cipients (n
67; 70%). Table 3 pre-sents the results of the
nalmultivariatelogisticregressionmodel.The value (
.74) for the Hosmer-Lemeshow test indicated good model
$15,000 was the stron-gest correlate of food insecurityamong this sample of students (oddsratio [OR], 2.23; 95% con
dence in-terval [CI], 1.07
4.63). Similarly, stu-dents reporting fair or poor healthwere more likely to be food insecure(OR, 2.08; 95% CI, 1.07
4.63). Em-ployed students and those partici-pating in food assistance programswere also more likely to be food inse-cure (OR, 1.73, 95% CI, 1.04
2.88;and OR, 1.91, 95% CI, 1.05
3.45,respectively). However, students witha grade point average of
3.1 were60% less likely to be food insecure(OR, 0.40; 95% CI, 0.22
0.69). No sig-ni
cant associations were found withliving arrangement, health insurancestatus, physical activity, enrollmentstatus, or demographic factors.
Thecurrentstudyfoundthattheprev-alenceoffoodinsecurity(59%)amonga sampleof college students attendinga midsize rural university in Oregonwas higher than that of the generalpopulation (15%), or even other col-lege student populations (eg, 39%among studentsat the CityUniversityofNewYork
;45%amongstudentsatthe University of Hawai'i at Manoa
).Food insecurity is an indicator of eco-nomic hardship that college studentsare facing. A recent story in
pointed out that across thecountry, stretching
nancial aid dol-lars or wages from part-time work hasbecome more challenging for collegestudents during the Great Recession,partly because
parents have fewer re-sources to help out, there is greatercompetition for work-study jobs, andmany schools have increased tuitionto cover their expenses.
opez et al Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior