Laura McKenna wrote an informative piece for us detailing how “more than half of community-college students struggle with food insecurity.” A reader counters her many references to “hunger” by pointing to a study:
The truth is, there’s an “obesity epidemic” at community colleges:
That  study found a higher prevalence of overweight and obesity among students attending the two-year colleges, with a particularly sharp difference for females. Females at two-year colleges also displayed less healthy behavior than their counterparts at four-year colleges, including lower physical activity levels, higher consumption of unhealthy foods, and greater sedentary activity (television viewing). Fewer differences were found between men attending two-year and four-year colleges. Importantly, these disparities were found even when controlling for race, ethnicity, and age (Laska et al.).
This reader makes a key comeback:
Obesity is often the result of malnourishment. The cheapest food available are things like top ramen and macaroni and cheese from the dollar store, and a package of cookies. My high school students in poverty mostly eat at school and what they can get at the dollar store. Yes, they are overweight because they have high blood sugar, which tips them into weight-accumulation, rather than being able to actually burn the calories they consume. That’s why they’re fat: their food is not providing them with the nutrition they actually need.
But the cheapest food doesn’t have to be the super convenient, unhealthy, dollar store variety; it just takes the extra effort of cooking. Here’s one of countless guides out there:
Many of the meals in Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day [the average daily amount provided by food stamps], cost less than 75¢ cents per serving to make: the 132-page book features recipes for 65¢ vegetable jambalaya, 60¢ lentil soup, and 70¢ banana pancakes.
Not everyone can afford to have a kitchen, especially students, but this rice cooker at Target, for example, costs $14. And this reader cooked communally with his fellow college students:
This is nothing new; the choices are. Millennials did not invent hunger.