MSc student, Public Health and Health Systems

Mona Qutub 

Program

MSc Public Health and Health Systems

Supervisor

Sharon Kirkpatrick

My thesis

I hope to better understand food insecurity among post-secondary students, as it is a growing concern, particularly within this demographic. Simultaneously, there is increasing attention to food literacy among young adults, including post-secondary students. Food literacy encompasses multiple interrelated attributes, such as knowledge, skills, and self-efficacy, to plan, select, and prepare healthy foods within the context of complex food environments. Some qualitative research has suggested that low food literacy may exacerbate food insecurity among post-secondary students. However, the associations between varied attributes of food literacy, such as skills and self-efficacy, and food security have not been assessed using comprehensive measures, posing a barrier to effective policy to support healthy eating among post-secondary students. I hope to work with other researchers on my team to conduct a study to explore food literacy and food insecurity among post-secondary students. Online surveys will be administered to a subset of 500 post-secondary students from eight universities and colleges in Ontario. The main objective of my thesis is to assess the associations between food literacy attributes and food security status and explore whether attributes of food literacy mediate the association between known correlates of food insecurity, including income adequacy, and food security status among a sample of post-secondary students in Ontario. I am leading this work in collaboration with public health nutritionists through a Public Health Ontario Locally Developed Collaborative Project (LDCP), using an integrated knowledge translation approach. 

My time at the School of Public Health Sciences (SPHS) 

 I completed my undergrad in the SPHS as well a few years ago and it was the culture that called me back to complete my Master of Science degree. I have found everyone – students, faculty and staff - to be very supportive, fostering an environment filled with growth. My peers are very friendly and so great to work with. I am also very grateful to my supervisor and entire research team for believing in me and guiding me throughout my research so far. I am excited to complete the next half of my degree and carry out a study to better understand food insecurity among post-secondary students.  

Affiliation: 
University of Waterloo