Higher Education

, Volume 67, Issue 5, pp 497–510 | Cite as

Food insecurity: is it an issue among tertiary students?

  • Danielle GallegosEmail author
  • Rebecca Ramsey
  • Kai Wen Ong


Insufficient access to food is known to compromise tertiary studies. Students often belong to groups known to have poor food security such as those renting or relying on government payments. The present study administered a cross-sectional survey incorporating the USDA food security survey module (FSSM) to 810 students at a metropolitan university in Brisbane, Australia. One in four students indicated they were food insecure, this being double that previously reported for tertiary students and five times that previously reported for the general population. Factors associated with food insecurity included low income, reliance on government support and renting. Students from food insecure households were twice as likely to report only fair or poor general health and three times as likely to have deferred their studies due to financial difficulties. Further, at least 80 % of these students reported that their studies were compromised. Strategies to alleviate food insecurity among students could improve retention rates and educational outcomes.


Food insecurity University student Australia 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Danielle Gallegos
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rebecca Ramsey
    • 1
  • Kai Wen Ong
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Exercise and Nutrition SciencesQueensland University of TechnologyKelvin GroveAustralia

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