The association between food security and selected dietary and lifestyle parameters in Scottish University students.
(2017) The association between food security and selected dietary and lifestyle parameters in Scottish University students., no. 37.
BACKGROUND : Food insecurity occurs whenever the access of sufficient, safe and nutritious foods in socially and healthy acceptable ways is limited or uncertain. A recent study in Illinois University students suggested that 35% of the respondents were food insecure (Morris et al. 2016). However, there has been limited research into this area, especially regarding the relationship between food insecurity and dietary/lifestyle factors in University students. OBJECTIVE : This study aims to investigate the level of Food Security (FS) amongst Queen Margaret University (QMU) students and explore the relationship between food insecurity/security with selected dietary (fat, sugar and alcohol intakes) and lifestyle parameters (smoking, alcohol consumption and Physical Activity (PA)). METHOD : A cross-sectional survey design involving a self-administered questionnaire consisting of sociodemographic, lifestyle parameters, selected dietary, PA and food security-related questions was administered amongst a sample of QMU students (n = 17). Statistical analysis included Frequencies, Shapiro-Wilk test, Pearson's tests and Spearman's tests were used. Statistical significance was accepted at p ≤ 0.05, (r) could take any value in the range ___-1;1___. RESULTS : Out of the seventeen participants of the sample, only one was considered as 'low FS' (5.9%) while sixteen of the participants were classified as 'high FS' (94.1%). There were significant relationships between FS and selected dietary habits (high fats, saturated fats, and high sugar-food and high) (p = 0.025) and between FS and alcohol consumption (p = 0.049). Although, no significant relationship has been found between FS and BMI (p > 0.05), FS and smoking (p > 0.05), FS and PA (p > 0.05), and FS and sedentary behaviour (p > 0.05). CONCLUSION : 94.1% of the participants were high FS. This tend goes against the literature. Although, FS and DFS Score were correlated and so was FS and alcohol consumption. Overweight and obesity are two major public health's issues in Scotland. The results found in this study do not promise definitive information regarding the question of food insecurity amongst Scottish students. Further larger-sample studies are required to investigate this question. KEY WORDS : food insecurity, food security, university students, dietary, lifestyle parameters