Journal List > Korean J Community Nutr > v.20(1) > 1038511

Yang: Socio-demographic Characteristics, Nutrient Intakes and Mental Health Status of Older Korean Adults depending on Household Food Security: Based on the 2008-2010 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey



This study was performed to investigate the associations of food security with socio-demographic characteristics, nutrient intakes and mental health status among older Korean adults.


This study was conducted using data from the 2008-2010 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES). Subjects were 4,451 adults aged 65~98 years. Food security was measured using a self-reported question on food sufficiency of subjects' household. Based on the answers, study subjects were classified into secure, mildly insecure, moderately insecure, and severely insecure groups. Dietary intake was estimated by 24-hour dietary recall. Nutrient intake was assessed by dietary reference intakes (DRI). As for mental health status, the data on mental stress, depression, and suicide ideation were used.


Rate of food insecurity in older adults was 14.3%. Old age, being female, low education, low income level, living alone, and discomfort in daily living were more related to food insecurity. Means of nutrient intakes were significantly different according to food security status. Intakes of calcium, potassium, and vitamin B2 were lower than recommended intakes in all groups. Consumption amounts of soy and soybean products, vegetables, mushrooms, fruits, vegetable oils, meats, eggs, seafood, and dairy products were lower in food insecure groups. Mental stress, depression, and suicide ideation were higher in food insecure groups independent of the gender and income level.


These present findings suggested that food security is related to mental health as well as nutrition status in older Korean adults. A national system that include food and psychosocial support programs for the elderly should be considered in order to improve the overall health of older Korean adults.

Figures and Tables

Table 1

Socio-demographic characteristics of the study subjects


1) Analysis of variance (ANOVA) for continuous variables and Chi-square test for categorical variables

2) Mean±SE

3) N (%)

Table 2

Nutrient intakes according to the food security status1)


1) Nutrient intakes were estimated by 24-hour recall and nutrient intakes were adjusted by age and sex.

2) Estimated Energy Requirements (EER) for total energy, Recommended Nutrient Intake (RNI) for protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, niacin, and vitamin C, Adequate Intake (AI) for potassium, Recommended daily sodium limit for sodium intake were used as references.

3) P-values by the general linear model (GLM)

4) Mean±SE

Table 3

Food items consumed according to the food security status1)


1) Food consumptions were estimated by 24-hour recall and amount of foods were adjusted by age and sex.

2) P-values by the general linear model (GLM)

3) Mean±SE

Table 4

Mental Health of the study subjects according to the food security status by the gender


1) P-values by Chi-square

2) N (%)

Table 5

Mental Health of the study subjects according to the food security status by the income level


1) P-values by Chi-square

2) N (%)

Table 6

Mental Health of the study subjects according to the food security status by the household type


1) P-values by Chi-square

2) N (%)


This research was supported by the Dongduk Women's University grant.


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