ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Food Insecurity among Students in India

There has been increased attention to food insecurity in India and globally since the 1990s. However, the food insecurity experienced by university students has not been widely discussed. We examine the scale and depth of the problem of student food insecurity and outline four key considerations that will need to be borne in mind in policy efforts to address the issue. Future work on this problem should be comparative, engaged with policy, informed by its complexity, and attuned to the significance of young people’s agency.

Scholars, government, and practitioners in India have paid incre­ased attention to food security and well-being since the 1990s. The exp­ansion of the Government of India’s midday meal scheme has been a centrepiece of this effort. The topic of student food insecurity in Indian colleges and universities, however, has not been addressed.

The global literature on student food insecurity at the tertiary level suggests that students are much more likely to exp­erience food insecurity than other sections of the population. Around 2010, the rising tuition and living costs combined with declining state support for students, and the privatisation of food provision on campuses increased students’ food insecurity in places as diverse as the United States (US) (Henry 2017), Malaysia (Ramlee et al 2019), and Nigeria (Ukegbu et al 2019; Campesina 2007). Emerging research suggests that the student food insecurity has multiple knock-on effects. It often has a negative impact on students’ relationships (Henry 2017), mental health (Maynard et al 2018; Stebleton et al 2020), and achievement at university (Manry et al 2017; El Zein et al 2018; van Woerden et al 2019).

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Updated On : 12th Dec, 2022
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