Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

VA Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Food insecurity is associated with multiple chronic conditions and physical health status among older US adults.

Leung CW, Kullgren JT, Malani PN, Singer DC, Kirch M, Solway E, Wolfson JA. Food insecurity is associated with multiple chronic conditions and physical health status among older US adults. Preventive medicine reports. 2020 Dec 1; 20:101211.

Related HSR&D Project(s)

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


In the past two decades, food insecurity has increased by 45% among older adults but its relationship to health outcomes has not been extensively studied. The objective of this study was to examine the associations between food insecurity, multiple chronic conditions, and self-reported health status among a nationally representative sample of older U.S. adults. Data came from the National Poll on Healthy Aging, a national cross-sectional survey conducted in December 2019 among 2,048 individuals aged 50-80 years. Food insecurity was assessed using the six-item short form of the USDA Food Security Survey Module. The primary outcomes of interest were the number of self-reported chronic conditions and self-reported physical health status. Multinomial logistic regression models were used to examine the associations between food security status and the outcomes of interest, adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics. The overall prevalence of food insecurity among older adults was 14%. After adjustment for sociodemographic characteristics, food insecurity was positively associated with multiple chronic conditions (RRR 1.60, 95% CI 1.08, 2.36, for 2-3 conditions vs. 0-1; RRR 2.59, 95% CI 1.55, 4.33 for 4-10 chronic conditions vs. 0-1). Food insecurity was also associated with lower self-reported health status (RRR 1.84, 95% CI 1.16, 2.93 for good vs. excellent/ very good health; RRR 5.13, 95% CI 3.08, 8.52 for fair/poor vs. excellent/very good health). Food insecurity is an important social determinant of health among older adults. These findings can contribute to clinical and public health efforts to simultaneously alleviate food insecurity and promote health behaviors among older adults.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.