Ubaldus John Tumaini


The prevalence of food insecurity among college students has received little attention in academic literature, despite previous studies suggesting increased risk and potentially high rates of food insecurity among students. This study assessed the prevalence of food inaccessibility among the college students, and explored its relationship with socio-demographic characteristics. A cross-section design was applied and data were gathered from a random sample of 287 undergraduate bachelor students using a standard questionnaire which included the three domains from the Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS). Descriptive analysis was conducted using SPSS version 20. Using the HFIAS tool, about 43% of the surveyed students were not experiencing food accessibility. Overall, more than a half (57%) of all students who were not experiencing food accessibility were males. Year three students were relatively better compared to year one and year two students. Students residing on-campus or with parents experienced food accessibility than those staying off campus alone. Also, students who sourced most of their income from salaried jobs were better off than those depending on a lover or Higher Education Students’ Loans Board. To conclude, inadequate food accessibility is a significant problem among students in this college. Future studies need to investigate the impact of food insecurity on college students’ academic performance and formulate strategies to reduce the problem and its consequences


College Students; Food Insecurity; Tanzania.

Full Text:



Belachew, T., C. Hadley, D. Lindstrom, A. Gebremariam, C. Lachat, and P. Kolsteren. (2011). Food insecurity, school absenteeism and educational attainment of adolescents in Jimma Zone Southwest Ethiopia: a longitudinal study. Nutrition Journal, 10(29), 1 – 9.

Bruening, M., S. Brennhofer, I. van Woerden, M. Todd, and M. Laska. (2016). Factors related to the high rates of food insecurity among diverse, urban college freshmen. Journal of Academic Nutrition Diet, 116(9), 1450-1457.

Cady, C.L. (2014). Food insecurity as a student issue. Journal of College & Character 15(4), 265 – 271.

Chaparro, M.P., S.S. Zaghloul, P. Holck, and J. Dobbs. (2009). Food insecurity prevalence among college students at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. Public Health Nutrition, 12(11), 2097 – 2103.

Coates, J., A. Swindale, and P. Bilinsky. (2007). Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS) for Measurement of Household Food Access: Indicator Guide (v. 3). Washington, D.C.: Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance Project, Academy for Educational Development.

Davison, K.M., C. Holloway, L. Gondara, and A.S. Hatcher. (2018). Independent associations and effect modification between lifetime substance use and recent mood disorder diagnosis with household food insecurity. PLoS ONE 13(1): e0191072.

Dubick, J., B. Mathews, and C. Cady. (2016). Hunger on Campus: The Challenges of Food Insecurity for College Students. College of University Food Bank Alliance.

Gaines, A., C.A. Robb, L.L. Knol, and S. Sickler. (2014). Examining the role of financial factors, resources and skills in predicting food security status among college students. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 38(4), 374 – 384.

Hagedorn, R.L. and M.D. Olfert. (2018). Food Insecurity and Behavioural Characteristics for Academic Success in Young Adults Attending an Appalachian University. Nutrients, 10(3), 361.

Holland, R., A. Barbera, A. Sadek, W. Koszewski, and G. Brooks. (2017). Prevalence of Food Insecurity among College Students at a South-eastern University. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 117(9), A93.

Hughes, R. (2012). Food insecurity amongst university students. Nutridate 23, 2–4.

Hughes, R., I. Serebryanikova, K. Donaldson, and M. Leveritt. (2011). Student food insecurity: the skeleton in the university closet. Nutrition Diet, 68(1), 27 – 32.

Knueppel, D., M. Demment, and L. Kaiser. (2010). Validation of the Household Food Insecurity Access Scale in rural Tanzania. Public Health Nutrition, 13, 360–367.

Lindsley, K., and C. King. (2014). Food insecurity of campus-residing Alaskan college students. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 114, A94.

Lwambo, N. J., S. Brooker, J.E. Siza, D.A. Bundy, and H. Guyatt. (2000). Age patterns in stunting and anaemia in African schoolchildren: a cross-sectional study in Tanzania. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 54, 36-40.

Maroto, M. E., A. Snelling, and H. Linck. (2015). Food insecurity among college students: Prevalence and association with grade point average. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 39, 515 – 526.

McArthur, L. H., L. Ball, A.C. Danek, and D. Holbert. (2017). A High Prevalence of Food Insecurity Among University Students in Appalachia Reflects a Need for Educational Interventions and Policy Advocacy. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behaviour, 50, 564 - 572.

McLaughlin, K.A., J.G. Green, M. Alegría, E.J. Costello, M.J. Gruber, N.A. Sampson, and R.C. Kessler. (2012). Food insecurity and mental disorders in a national sample of US adolescents. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 51, 1293–1303.

Morris, L. M., S. Smith, J. Davis, and D.B. Null. (2016). The prevalence of food security and insecurity among Illinois University students. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behaviour 48, 376 – 382.

Munro, N., M. Quayle, H. Simpson, and S. Barnsley. (2013). Hunger for knowledge: food insecurity among students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Perspectives in Education 31, 168 – 179.

National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education. (2015). Demographic and Enrolment Characteristics of Non-traditional Undergraduates: 2011–12. [http://] site visited in September 2018.

Nguyen, H.T., E.A. Frongillo, M.S. Farm, and J. Bernal. (2017). Prevalence of Food Insecurity of Adolescent Students from 83 Countries. The FASEB Journal, 31, 791.5.

Nord, M., M. Andrews, and S. Carlson. (2007). Household Food Security in the United States, 2006. Washington, DC: USDA, Economic Research Service.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2020 Business Education Journal