Food Insecurity: Challenges and Resources to Help

August 28, 2023
Heather Eicher Miller

Attending college offers a wonderful opportunity to learn and gain skills for future employment.  However, it may also be financially challenging, as it can be very stressful to cover tuition costs, daily living and keep up with grades and classes. Some students may find themselves making difficult choices like paying for books or paying for food. 

Food insecurity is the situation where access to food is limited and there is not enough food for an active, healthy life. Even for short time periods, food insecurity is linked with poor physiological and psychological impacts for college students. Food insecure situations are also linked with poor diets and physical activity, greater odds for obesity and poor mental health, depression, anxiety and stress.  Students may find it challenging to concentrate and maintain grades when managing a food insecure situation.

The Purdue campus and surrounding Lafayette community offers resources to help students who are in food insecure situations. The ACE Campus Food Pantry provides free food to any Purdue student, with only the presentation of a Purdue ID. Student Support Services can assist with information and resources to help students navigate financial, personal and academic challenges. Additional emergency food resources are offered in the greater community. For example, the Food Finders Fresh Market offers free food and other services such as educational and cooking classes and help in determining assistance and registration for federal food assistance such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Information on the resources mentioned is listed below:


  1. Landry MJ, Gundersen C, Eicher-Miller HA. Food Insecurity on College and University Campuses: A Context and Rationale for Solutions. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2022 Mar;122(3):519-524. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2021.10.021. Epub 2021 Oct 27. PMID: 34718223.

Heather Eicher-Miller, PhD, Professor, Nutrition Science is a Professor of Nutrition Science at Purdue University. She develops novel analytical and methodological techniques, including temporal dietary patterning, to more effectively quantify and evaluate the relationship between dietary behavior and health. Her research also focuses on food insecurity which affects 10% of U.S. households and creates uncertainty in the availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods. Her work has documented immediate and chronic adverse dietary and health outcomes associated with food insecurity among diverse populations. Her efforts to evaluate and create evidence based interventions, programs, and policies have reduced food insecurity and improved access to resources which enhance health.


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