Food Insecurity, Carotenoid Values and Coping Strategies of Students on a Mid-Sized College Campus


  • Elizabeth A. Smith
  • Chandra R. Story
  • Korissa C. Hobbs
  • Tyler Bos
  • Garvita Thareja



food insecurity, college students, carotenoid measurements, fruits and vegetables, coping skills


Food insecurity is a serious public health problem among college students, negatively affecting academic performance and health outcomes. The primary objective of the study involved the exploration of the potential association between food insecurity and carotenoid scan levels. Additionally, the association between food insecurity and coping strategies utilized was investigated. A Qualtrics survey and BioPhotonic Scanner™ were utilized to conduct an exploratory cross-sectional study with students from a mid-size four-year university (n=410). The USDA food security definitions and assessment tools were used for categorization. More than 31% percent of participants were classified as food insecure, with 5.1% considered very low and 26.6% low food security. A statistically significant factor associated with food insecurity was ethnicity (OR= .19). Other factors included: skipped buying textbooks to buy food (OR=.09), avoided buying expensive foods like fruits and vegetables (OR=.24), stretched food by limiting (OR= .09), removed spoiled parts from fruits and vegetables (OR= .73). Carotenoid scan scores were not associated with food insecurity. Coping strategies are often used by food insecure students and should be further examined to pinpoint promising strategies.

Author Biographies

Elizabeth A. Smith

Elizabeth Smith, RD, LDN 1301 E. Main Street Box 86, Murfreesboro, TN 37132. Phone: 615 898 5853

Chandra R. Story

Chandra R. Story, PhD Middle Tennessee State University

Korissa C. Hobbs

Korissa C. Hobbs, Middle Tennessee State University

Tyler Bos

Tyler Bos. Middle Tennessee State University

Garvita Thareja

Garvita Thareja, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Colorado



How to Cite

Smith, E. A., Story, C. R., Hobbs, K. C., Bos, T., & Thareja, G. (2020). Food Insecurity, Carotenoid Values and Coping Strategies of Students on a Mid-Sized College Campus. American Journal of Health Studies, 35(3).