Food insecurity among older adults living in low- and middle-income countries: a scoping review

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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Food insecurity is considered an increasing public health problem worldwide with adverse effects, especially among older adults. Although the literature related to food insecurity among older adults in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) is expanding, little is known about existing patterns and knowledge gaps in these settings. This scoping review aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the current research related to food insecurity among older adults in LMIC. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: A systematic search was conducted in November 2021 and revised in July 2022 on six databases using terms related to food insecurity and older adults. Data were extracted and the emerging themes from the main findings were summarized using a Social-Ecological Model (SEM). RESULTS: Forty-one studies met the inclusion criteria. Almost half (48.8%) were published in the last two years and utilized a quantitative approach (n=38). Only one study was conducted in a low-income country. Using the SEM, most studies included in this review focused on addressing the relationship between food insecurity with intrapersonal factors. DISCUSSION AND IMPLICATIONS: Several gaps in the current literature were identified. There is a lack of longitudinal and qualitative studies available on this topic. Also, only fifteen LMIC were represented in the literature. A critical point in this review is that only a few studies addressed the relationship between food insecurity and the policy/social structure, institutional, community and interpersonal levels. These identified gaps can serve as a guide for future research on this topic.

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The Gerontologist

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