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“Everybody I Know Is Always Hungry…But Nobody Asks Why”: University Students, Food Insecurity and Mental Health

1
Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Oshawa, ON L1H 7K4, Canada
2
School of Public Health, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 1C9, Canada
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(6), 1571; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11061571
Received: 4 February 2019 / Revised: 22 February 2019 / Accepted: 11 March 2019 / Published: 15 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Sovereignty, Food Security, and Sustainable Food Production)
Food insecurity is a substantial problem in Canadian university students. Multiple cross-sectional studies suggest that nearly a third of university students across Canada report food insecurity. Yet, little is understood about the experiences of food-insecure students and the impact of their experiences on their mental health. To address this, a multi-method study was conducted using quantitative and qualitative approaches to describe the prevalence, association and experience of food insecurity and mental health in undergraduate students. The current paper reports on the qualitative component, which described the lived experiences of food-insecure students, captured through face-to-face focus group interviews with participants (n = 6). The themes included (1) contributing factors to food insecurity; (2) consequences of food insecurity; and (3) students’ responses/attempts to cope with food insecurity. The findings illuminated student voices, added depth to quantitative results, and made the experience of food insecurity more visible at the undergraduate level. Additional research is needed to understand students’ diverse experiences across the university community and to inform programs to support students. View Full-Text
Keywords: food insecurity; food security; mental health; university students; student health; food justice; hunger food insecurity; food security; mental health; university students; student health; food justice; hunger
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Hattangadi, N.; Vogel, E.; Carroll, L.J.; Côté, P. “Everybody I Know Is Always Hungry…But Nobody Asks Why”: University Students, Food Insecurity and Mental Health. Sustainability 2019, 11, 1571.

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