Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.S. in Food and Nutrition Services

Department

Nutrition and Hospitality Management

First Advisor

David Holben

Second Advisor

Annie Cafer

Third Advisor

Georgianna Mann

Relational Format

dissertation/thesis

Abstract

International college students may be at risk for suffering from food insecurity and poor health. The purposes of this study were to: 1) determine if the household adult food security status (HAFSS) differs between undergraduate and graduate international students (INSTUD) attending the University of Mississippi (UM); 2) establish if a statistically significant relationship exists between health (physical functioning (PF) , role limitations due to physical health (RLPH), role limitations due to emotional problems (RLEP), energy/fatigue (EF), emotional well-being (EWB), social functioning (SF), pain (P), and general health (GH) and HAFSS; 3) assess if health differs between INSTUD living in food secure and food insecure households at UM; and 4) determine if health predicts HAFSS in INSTUD attending UM. A cross-sectional survey design was used. Methods included sending a fifty-eight-question survey questionnaire assessing current food insecurity status and health to 750 randomly-selected INSTUD via university email. This survey included questions to assess basic demographic information, the USDA’s HFSSM Six-Item Short Form and the RAND 36-Item Short Form. To determine the differences in HAFSS in undergraduate and graduate INSTUD, a Pearson Chi-square test was performed. A Pearson’s correlation coefficient was used to identify if a statistically significant relationship exists between health and HAFSS. When assessing the difference in health status between food secure and food insecure INSTUD, a two-tail independent samples t-test was used. When identifying if health predicts HAFSS, an ordinal logistic regression with proportional odds test was performed. Participants (n=94, 12.5% response rate) were from thirty-five different countries were primarily male (n=48, 51.1%), graduate students (n=50, 53.2%), that received funding (n=82, 87%). INSTUD were categorized by high food security (n=27, 28.7%), marginal food security (n=12, 12.8%), low food security (n=24, 25.5%), and very low food security (n=31, 33%). The majority of participants were characterized as being non-OECD member countries (n=75,80%), with noted differences in food security by students from non-OECD and OECD countries. No differences in HAFSS were observed between undergraduate and graduate students (p=.344). Significant relationships between RLPH (p<.05), EF (p<.001), EWB (p<.05), SF (p<.001), P (p<.05), and GH (p<.001) and food security status were noted. RLPH (p=.043), SF (p<.001), and GH (p<.001) differed between food secure and food insecure INSTUD. Health scores in these areas were higher in food secure INSTUD. Essentially, as health scores decreased, food security worsened. Analysis also found decreased odds of living in a food insecure household for individuals with good SF (OR=.95) and GH (OR=.96). To conclude, INSTUD at UM may suffer from poor health and experience food insecurity. Better SF and better GH promote food security among INSTUD.

Available for download on Tuesday, September 22, 2020

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