Is food insecurity a problem among the elderly in Sharpeville, South Africa?

Wilna Oldewage-Theron, Abdulkadir A. Egal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of food and nutrition insecurity and assess the socio-demographic factors associated with food and nutrition insecurity among 146 free-living elderly persons attending a care centre in Sharpeville, South Africa. Measurement instruments included socio-demographic-, 24-hour-recall and dietary diversity questionnaires and the validated household food insecurity access scale/score (HFIAS). Data were analysed with IBM SPSS Software, version 25.0. The prevalence of food insecurity from HFIAS was 60% (n = 87), with a variety of balanced responses being employed. Significant relationships were observed between HFIAS and age (r = 0.301; p = 0.000) and with household income (r = −0.258; p = 0.007). An association was observed between HFIAS and marital status (p = 0.005). Regression analysis showed that age and being single were predictors of food and nutrition insecurity. This study indicated a problem of household food insecurity with poor dietary intakes among these elderly people, mostly due to poverty and being single. More research on associations between food security and socio-economic variables is needed to plan and implement appropriate strategies to address food and nutrition insecurity in South Africa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-81
Number of pages11
JournalFood Security
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Coping
  • Dietary intakes
  • Elderly
  • Food insecurity
  • Socioeconomics
  • South Africa


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