A recent study published in JAMA Network Open has revealed that food insecurity in older adults is associated with a higher risk for dementia and poorer memory function. The study, conducted by researchers from the University of California in San Francisco, examined the cognitive outcomes of older adults aged 50 years and older based on their food security data.
The study included 7,012 participants with an average age of 67.7 years. The findings showed that those who experienced low food security and very low food security had higher odds of developing dementia compared to food-secure older adults. The odds ratios were 1.38 and 1.37, respectively. Additionally, individuals with low and very low food security had lower memory levels and experienced faster age-related memory decline.
“We conducted this study using a large and diverse sample, validated exposure and outcome measures, and longitudinal data to robustly evaluate the association between food insecurity in older adulthood and subsequent brain health,” explained the researchers. “Our findings highlight the importance of addressing food security in older adults as a potential measure to protect against cognitive decline and dementia.”
Food insecurity, a lack of access to sufficient and nutritious food, is a growing issue among older adults. It can result from financial constraints, limited mobility, and inadequate social support. The findings of this study underscore the urgent need to improve food security for this vulnerable population.
Q: What is food insecurity?
A: Food insecurity refers to a lack of access to sufficient and nutritious food.
Q: How did the study measure cognitive outcomes?
A: The study measured cognitive outcomes using dementia probability and memory score assessments conducted biennially between 2014 and 2018.
Q: What is the relationship between food insecurity and dementia?
A: The study found that older adults experiencing food insecurity have a higher risk for dementia compared to food-secure individuals.
Q: How can food security be improved for older adults?
A: Addressing food security in older adults may involve measures such as increasing access to nutritious food, enhancing social support systems, and addressing financial constraints.