SPH Student Tackles Food Insecurity Among Students

By Andy Steiner, MinnPost March 6, 2017
Public Health Nutrition student Rebecca Leighton

Public Health Nutrition student Rebecca Leighton

When she heard that the 2015 Boynton Student Health Survey had reported that 17 percent of University of Minnesota undergraduate students worried that their food would run out before they had money to buy more, Rebecca Leighton, a second-year graduate student at the University’s School of Public Health, decided that something needed to be done.

“This is what I study,” Leighton said. “I know the overall importance of food to the whole person. Most people understand that nutritious food is key to physical health. What they don’t always understand is that feelings of anxiety around accessing food can also impact a person’s mental health.”

The same Boynton survey reported that the number of U of M students reporting a mental health diagnosis was up 33 percent. Leighton decided that she would work to remedy this situation in the best way she knew how.

“My research for my degree is interviewing food-insecure students,” she explained. “I’m learning about the psychological impact of food insecurity.”

(This story originally appeared on MinnPost, read the whole story here)