Publication Details

Russell, J., Flood, V., Yeatman, H. & Mitchell, P. (2014). Prevalence and risk factors of food insecurity among a cohort of older Australians. Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging, 18 (1), 3-8.



With ongoing national concern about food security, the aim of the study was to estimate the prevalence of food insecurity and to identify associated characteristics in a cohort of older Australians.

Design, setting and participants

The Blue Mountains Eye Study is a cohort study of community living participants aged 49 + years. The 12-item food security survey was completed by 3068 participants in the cross sectional study which comprised 2335 survivors from baseline and the recruitment of an additional 1174 eligible residents.

Main outcome measures

Prevalence of self reported food insecurity was calculated and multivariate logistic regression provided odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals to determine risk factors.


Overall prevalence of food insecurity was 13%. Women (15.7%) compared with men (9.4%) and younger participants, aged <70 years (15.7%) than older participants, ≥70 years (8.4%), were significantly more likely to report being food insecure. Characteristics for reporting food insecurity included participants living in rented accommodation (OR 4.10, 95% CI: 2.83, 5.89) and those living on a pension only (OR 1.90, 95%CI: 1.30, 2.78).


A relatively high level of food insecurity among this representative population of older Australians should be an issue of concern for policy makers and health and welfare service providers. Addressing food insecurity should be a priority of integrated national food and nutrition policies and this should in turn inform health and welfare service provision to this vulnerable population.



Link to publisher version (DOI)