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Food Security | Higher Education | Nutrition


Despite over a decade of both quantitative and qualitative studies, food insecurity among US college/university students remains a pervasive problem within higher education. The purpose of this perspective piece was to highlight research gaps in the area of college food insecurity and provide rationale for the research community to focus on these gaps going forward. A group of food insecurity researchers from a variety of higher education institutions across the United States identified five thematic areas of research gaps: screening and estimates of food insecurity; longitudinal changes in food insecurity; impact of food insecurity on broader health and academic outcomes; evaluation of impact, sustainability and cost effectiveness of existing programmes and initiatives; and state and federal policies and programmes. Within these thematic areas, nineteen specific research gaps were identified that have limited or no peer-reviewed, published research. These research gaps result in a limited understanding of the magnitude, severity and persistence of college food insecurity, the negative short- and long-term impacts of food insecurity on health, academic performance and overall college experience, and effective solutions and policies to prevent or meaningfully address food insecurity among college students. Research in these identified priority areas may help accelerate action and interdisciplinary collaboration to alleviate food insecurity among college students and play a critical role in informing the development or refinement of programmes and services that better support college student food security needs.