Food Insecurity and Functional Disability Among Older Adults in Ghana: The Role of Sex and Physical Activity

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Awuviry-Newton, Kofi ORCID: 0000-0001-9109-0694, Amoah, Dinah ORCID: 0000-0002-4620-1372, Tavener, Meredith ORCID: 0000-0002-5972-3815, Afram, Adjeiwa Akosua, Dintrans, Pablo Villalobos, Byles, Julie and Kowal, Paul (2022) Food Insecurity and Functional Disability Among Older Adults in Ghana: The Role of Sex and Physical Activity. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 23 (8). 1432.e1-1432.e7. ISSN 1525-8610


Objectives: We examined the associations between food insecurity and functional disability among older adults in Ghana and, the roles of sex and physical activity on the relationship. Design: A cross-sectional study design was employed. Setting and participants: A total of 4446 older adults (50+ years of age) from the Study on Global Aging and Adult Health Ghana Wave 2, a countrywide study, was completed in 2015. Methods: Logistic regression models were used to examine the associations between measures of food insecurity and functional disability using data from Study on Global Aging and Adult Health Ghana Wave 2. Functional disability was assessed using World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule 2.0 composed of 12 items in 6 domains of cognition, mobility, self-care, getting along, life activities, and participation in society. Food insecurity was assessed from 12-month food sufficiency and experience of hunger over the last 12 months. Results: Approximately 11% were identified as having functional disability. The prevalence of food insecurity was 23.8% for insufficient food intake and 18.3% for hunger. Adjusting for all variables, older adults who reported consuming insufficient food (OR 2.27; 95% CI 1.57, 3.28), and those who experienced hunger (OR 2.35; 95% CI 1.59, 3.46) had higher odds of functional disability, compared with those not reporting these issues. Sex differences modified the association between hunger and functional disability. Physical activity served as a protective factor (OR 0.60; 95% CI 0.38, 0.95) on the association implying that older adults who engaged in physical activity were 40% less likely to experience food insecurity-induced functional disability. Conclusions and Implications: Food insecurity is associated with functional disability among older adults. Results highlight the usefulness of tackling the social determinants of health and promoting financial/social security in older age in a changing Ghanaian society.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.1016/j.jamda.2022.01.065
Official URL
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 4206 Public health
Current > Division/Research > College of Health and Biomedicine
Keywords food insecurity, functional disability, older adults, social determinants of health, health promotion, financial/social security, older age, Ghana
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