Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Umoren, Josephine

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

School of Health Studies


Food insecurity is higher among college students than in the general population. Food insecurity can lead to a variety of health outcomes. The present cross-sectional study investigated the relationship between food insecurity and body mass index (BMI), depression, and disordered eating among university students. The study was carried out at eight public universities in the Midwest.

Students at participating universities in the Midwest were recruited electronically. They were asked to complete an online survey which consisted of the U.S. Adult Food Security Scale, the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale, and the Three Factor Eating Questionnaire. Participants were also asked to report their height and weight measurements to calculate BMI.

Participants included 2,794 students over the age of 18. The food insecurity rate was 29.1%, which was more than double the national average of 11.8%. Food insecurity was significantly (P<.0001) associated with depression and disordered eating, but not with BMI (P=0.12). Students who were food insecure had significantly higher (P<.0001) BMI, depressive symptoms, and disordered eating. Food insecurity affects university students at higher than average rates and appears to have an effect on BMI, depressive symptoms, and disordered eating.


111 pages




Northern Illinois University

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