Food insecurity and health outcomes among community-dwelling middle-aged and older adults in India

Supa Pengpid, Karl Peltzer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The study assessed associations between food insecurity and mental, physical, and behavioural health outcomes in India. The study analysed national cross-sectional population-based data (N = 72,262; ≥ 45 years) from in India in 2017–2018. The overall prevalence of food insecurity was 9.7%. Food insecurity was significantly positively associated with poor mental health [low life satisfaction (AOR: 2.75, 95% CI 2.35–3.23), low self-reported health (AOR: 1.61, 95% CI 1.11–1.42), insomnia symptoms (AOR: 1.64, 95% CI 1.45–1.85), depressive symptoms (AOR: 2.21, 95% CI 1.97–2.48), major depressive disorder (AOR: 2.37, 95% CI 2.03–2.77), Alzheimer’s/dementia (AOR: 1.75, 95% CI 1.13–2.69), and poorer cognitive functioning (AOR: 0.68, 95% CI 0.49–0.93)], poor physical health [bone or joint disease (AOR: 1.18, 95% CI 1.04–1.34), angina (AOR: 1.80, 95% CI 1.58–2.06), underweight (AOR: 1.28, 95% CI 1.16–1.40), chronic lung disease (AOR: 1.22, 95% CI 1.03–1.45), and functional disability (AOR: 1.68, 95% CI 1.47–1.92)], and health risk behaviour [tobacco use (AOR: 1.13, 95% CI 1.01–1.25), heavy episodic drinking (AOR: 1.45, 95% CI 1.10–1.91) and physical inactivity (AOR: 1.42, 95% CI 1.21–1.67)]. Furthermore, food insecurity was negatively associated with overweight/obesity (AOR: 0.80, 95% CI 0.73–0.88). Food insecurity was associated with seven poor mental health indicators, five poor physical health conditions, and three health risk behaviours. Programmes and policies that improve food availability may help improve mental and physical health among middle-aged and older adults in India.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1136
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes


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