Global Education Forum: Food insecurity/obesity needs research on college campuses

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Obesity Initiative at UGA

This is post 4 of 5 regarding the 75th Annual Global Education Forum at the University of Georgia on April 2, 2013. Check the adjacent posts for more coverage.

This year’s forum theme was Obesity, Food Security, and Nutrition in Global Context.

During the afternoon, undergraduate and graduate students presented posters about their research. I was fascinated by a poster by a group of women’s studies students about food insecurity for UGA students and what options are available for groceries in Athens.

The group thought of the idea while in a class about food insecurity. The lack of grocery stores near campus — particularly cheaper options — is a hot topic that’s often discussed by not studied. They found that there are few studies across the country about this, but one at the University of Alabama did find that 36 percent of those surveyed did show moderate food insecurity.

In Athens, they looked at the options: Aldi, the Daily Co-op, Earth Fare, Kroger, Wal-Mart, and the Athens Farmers’ Market. They priced vegetables and other healthy foods at these places. They also looked at options available through the UGA Food Pantry and University Health Center’s Nutrition Kitchen.

“College food insecurity is an unknown problem, and few college students wanted to admit that it was,” they concluded.