Frailty and food insecurity in older adults

Public Health Nutr. 2016 Oct;19(15):2844-9. doi: 10.1017/S1368980016000987. Epub 2016 May 2.


Objective: The objective of the current work was to determine the association between food insecurity and frailty in older adults, within the context of a country with accelerated ageing and nutritional problems.

Design: Cross-sectional analysis of a representative nationwide survey on health and nutrition.

Setting: Mexican nationwide survey.

Subjects: A sample of 7108 adults aged 60 years or older living in communities, representative of Mexican older adults.

Results: Multivariate regression and descriptive analyses of food insecurity and frailty were performed. From a total of 7108 adults aged 60 years or older, with a mean age of 70·7 years, most (54·7 %) were women. Food security categories were: 26·3 % had food security, 40·3 % had mild food insecurity, 20·5 % had moderate food insecurity and 12·9 % had severe food insecurity. Food insecurity categories were associated with frailty, with the severe category having the highest odds ratio of 2·41 (95 % CI 2·03, 2·86; P<0·001) after adjustment for confounding factors.

Conclusions: According to our results, food insecurity is associated to frailty, which in turn is a condition that renders the older adult at a higher risk of developing adverse outcomes. Targeted food programmes for older adults with a high risk of having food insecurity or of being frail may improve health in this population group.

Keywords: Food insecurity; Frailty; Older adults.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Food Supply*
  • Frailty / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Mexico / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Status*