Lexi Chimera1, Jackson Dellana1, Alisha Farris1, Laurel Wentz1, Tara Harman2, Aston Dommel2, Kelsey Rushing2, Lee Stowers2, Christian Behrens Jr1. 1Appalachian State University, Boone, NC. 2University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL.

BACKGROUND: The prevalence of food insecurity among college students is a growing public health concern with incidences reported as high as 59%. Among this population are college student athletes. Preliminary evidence suggests college student athletes may be especially vulnerable to food insecurity because of their additional athletic obligations that are secondary to other coexisting factors associated with food insecurity as a college student. The primary objective of this study was to measure the prevalence and magnitude of food insecurity among college student athletes at two southeastern universities. METHODS: Eligible Division 1 NCAA student athletes 18 years of age or older were included in this multi-site cross-sectional survey study. Data was collected using an anonymous online questionnaire (Qualtrics®), with food security status measured via the validated 10-item USDA survey. Additional information including demographic data, food and nutrition-related knowledge was also collected. RESULTS: When combining participants identifying with very low food security, low food security and marginal food security, approximately 50% of participants identified as food insecure. Incidence of very low food security was two-fold greater at UAB (urban environment) versus ASU (rural environment). CONCLUSION: Preliminary results of the present study suggest that food insecurity is a profound and present issue at these two southeastern universities. This highlights the need for nutritional/educational resources to support student athletes' performance both in the classroom and in their respective sport. The significance of these preliminary findings magnifies the importance for continued research on food insecurity among college student athletes at other institutions. This information could one day be used to lobby governing bodies both at the university and NCAA level to provide more adequate support and resources for the college student athletes that represent their institution.

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