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01.12.2019 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2019 Open Access

BMC Geriatrics 1/2019

Objective and perceived food environment and household economic resources related to food insecurity in older adults living alone in rural areas

BMC Geriatrics > Ausgabe 1/2019
Jae Eun Shim, Ji-Yun Hwang, Kirang Kim
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Limited attention has been paid to an association between food environment and household economic resources related to food expenditure in food-insecure seniors. The aim of the study was to investigate the relationship between factors of economic resource, food environment, and food insecurity in single seniors residing in rural areas of South Korea.


A cross-sectional study was conducted in 170 single senior households aged 65 years or over residing in rural areas. Face-to-face interviews were performed to collect data on demographic characteristics, household economic resources/expenditure, food environmental factors, and food insecurity.


Among economic resources, generally limited food expenditures due to housing fees and heating costs during the winter were positively related to food insecurity. Among food environmental factors, food accessibility at community level such as food stores located far from home and inconvenient bus routes was related to food insecurity. The most explainable economic and food environment factors related to food insecurity by stepwise logistic regression analysis were the percentage of total expenditure on housing fee (OR = 1.021, 95% CI: 1.008–1.034), foods purchasing at super supermarket (OR = 0.398, 95% CI: 0.166–0.951), having difficulties in food purchasing due to food stores being located far from home (OR = 14.487, 95% CI: 5.139–40.842) and inconvenient bus routes (OR = 0.083, 95% CI: 0.015–0.460).


Inadequate community food environment as well as limited household food resources were an important risk factor for food insecurity in Korean single rural seniors. Findings of this study could help us better understand how characteristics of household food resources and community food environment can serve as barriers or facilitators of food security among single older adults residing in rural areas.
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