WISH4Campus is a research project that evaluates factors that influence food insecurity among college students.
College is a time of great joy, education, and personal expansion. Unfortunately, it is also a time of stress and financial insecurity. In turn, this can lead to food insecurity and hunger. Food insecuity is defined as "limited availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways." According to the USDA, in 2015 food insecurity impacted ~13% of households. Studies on college campuses show even higher rates. College based-food insecurity work is limited within the Appalachian region.
The aim of WISH4Campus is to measure the prevalence of food insecurity on college campuses and to investigate how food insecurity affects overall well-being (i.e. health, academic success, etc.). While poverty and low SES have been shown to be correlated with food insecurity, this study aims to investigate more novel factors.
WISH4Campus was developed as a cross-sectional survey to assess the prevalence of food insecurity among young adults attending a higher education institution. The 56 item survey was administered on 7 higher education campuses in the Appalachian and Southern regions of the United States. Within the survey, the USDA Adult Food Security 10-item screener was used to assess the prevalence of food insecurity. Student behaviors were assessed for coping strategies displayed to acquire food, money spending habits, and academic progress as well as other behavioral and demographic variables. This survey will be used to design an intervention to combat the heightened prevalence of food insecurity on college campuses.
Outcomes, Impact, & Future
Food insecurity outcomes were collected from over 12,000 young adults attending one of the 7 participating higher education institutions. West Virginia University reporting 36.6% as food insecure. Students who displayed more coping strategies to receive food and spent money in other areas prior to buying food had higher odds of being food insecure, consistently across all universities.
From the information gained in our cross-sectional regional study, an intervention is currently being designed to help promote student well-being and combat food insecurity in college students. This intervention will provide universities with a tool-kit to promote a food secure environment for students.
Further, this issue has gained national attention from numerous state senators. Researchers in this collaboration have discussed the teams work and outcomes with the Governmental Accountability Office to help streamline work being completed nationally and implement best practices and policies to promote student well-being through a sustainable and quality food environments on higher education campuses.
WISH4Campus is a collaborative effort. Our partners include:
- Marsha Spence, PhD, MPH, RDN, LDN - University of Tennessee
- Laura McArthur, Phd, RD -
Appalachian State University
- Lanae Ball, PhD - Appalachian State State University
- Elizabeth Wall-Bassett, PhD -
Western Carolina University
- Diane Tidwell, PhD, RDN, LDN -
Mississippi State University
- Carol Connell, PhD, RDN, LDN -
The University of Southern Mississippi
- Maureen Berner, PhD, MPP -
University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill
- Elizabeth (Betsy) Anderson Steeves, PhD, RDN, LDN - University of Tennessee
- Southern University Consortium on Hunger, Poverty, and Nutrition.
Publications & Presentations
Hagedorn RL*, Olfert MD. Food Insecurity and Behavioral Characteristics for Academic Success in Young Adults Attending and Appalachian University. Nutrients 2018; 10 (3), 36.
* denotes Research Assistant Trainees in the Olfert Research Lab
El Zein A, Shelnutt K,Colby S,
Olfert MD, Kattelmann K, Brown O, Kidd T, Horacek T, White A, Zhou W,
Vilaro M, Greene G, Morrell J, Riggsbee K,Mathews A. Socio-demographic Correlates
andPredictors of Food Insecurity among First Year College Students. Journal of
the Academy of Nutrition andDietetics, 117 (10), A146,
Hagedorn RL*, ...........
Olfert MD. Southern Regional Food Insecurity for Academic Institutions.
Hagedorn RL*, Morris AM*, Barr ML*,
Profile of Food Insecurity Among College Students at West Virginia University and
Self-Reported Health Status. Van Liere Research Symposium Morgantown, WV. February
Hagedorn RL*, Morris AM*, Barr ML*, Olfert MD. Food Insecurity Among College Students at West Virginia University and Self-Reported Health Status. Experimental Biology. Chicago, IL. April 2017.
Hagedorn RL*, Barr ML*, Famodu OA*, Morris AM*, Clark RL*, Olfert MD. Food Insecurity Among College Students at West Virginia University and Self-Reported Health Status. The FASEB Journal 31 (1 Supplement), 791.32. Chicago, Illinois. April 22-26. 2017.
Hagedorn RL*, Barr ML*, Olfert MD. WISH4CAMPUS: Initial Investigation of Food Insecurity Prevalence and Outcomes at West Virginia University. Annual Adolescent and Young Adult Research Symposium. Pittsburgh, PA. May 2017
Hagedorn RL*, Barr ML*, Olfert MD. Demographic Characteristic of Food Insecure vs. Food Secure College Students at a Large University in Appalachia. Southern Demographic Association. Morgantown, WV. October 2017.
Wattick RA*, Barr ML*, Hagedorn RL*, Shellnutt K,Mathews A, Colby SE,
Olfert MD. Appalachian Young Adults Food Security and Substance Use.
Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. 49(7):S30, JUL
Hagedorn RL*, McArthur LH, Ball L, Berner MM, Wall-Bassett E,Connell CL, Anderson Steeves E, Spence ML, Tidwell DK, Olfert MD. WISH4Campus:local and regional investigation of food insecurity and associated behavioralcharacteristics among college students. West Virginia University Van LiereResearch Day. Morgantown, WV. April 23, 2018.
Hagedorn RL*, McArthur LH, Ball L, Berner MM, Wall-Bassett E, Connell CL, Anderson Steeves E, Spence ML, Tidwell DK, Olfert MD. Food Insecurity Correlates and Behaviors Among College Students In Appalachian and Southeastern Regions: A Regional Higher Education Analysis. American Society for Nutrition . Boston, MA. June 2018.