The impact that cultural food security has on identity and well-being in the second-generation U.S. American minority college students
cultural food security, minorities, college students, identity
Food contributes to an individual’s physical and mental well-being and expresses one’s cultural identity through preparation, sharing, and consumption (i.e., foodways). Inadequate access to cultural foods can create cultural stress and affect one’s identity and well-being. In particular, second-generation U.S. American student populations may have a higher risk for cultural stress due to being away from family, academic stress, environmental changes, and diminished financial stability to purchase cultural foods. Thus, an exploratory qualitative methodology was used to elicit information about second-generation U.S. Americans’ food experiences to identify how cultural foods play a role in individual identity and how individual well-being is influenced by the presence or lack of cultural foods. Sixteen semi-structured interviews were conducted with second-generation American students at the University of Nevada, Reno, who self-identified as a cultural or ethnic minority. A standard thematic analysis was conducted. The authors identified that cultural food security influenced the ability to practice foodways, which tied Second-generation American students to their cultural identities. The absence of foodways led to anxiety and depression among students, amplifying the feelings of identity degradation. Second-generation American students discussed that the ability to practice their foodways improved multiple well-being components and led to feelings of happiness, decreased stress, warmth, better digestion, and a sense of belonging, comfort, and safety. College populations continue to grow and become more diverse, and with the increasing Second-generation American students, it is essential to improve the access and availability of cultural foods to improve their overall well-being. (245/250 words).
Wright, K.E., Lucero, J.E., Ferguson, J.K. et al. The impact that cultural food security has on identity and well-being in the second-generation U.S. American minority college students. Food Security 13, 701–715 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12571-020-01140-w
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