Background. As humans age, their level of physical activity declines, and the incidence of health problems and disability increases. In addition, the elderly experience food insecurity. The aim of the study was to establish the relationship between food insecurity for variable reasons, the level of physical activity and the incidence of metabolic diseases and those leading to loss of mobility. The study was conducted among 760 people aged 65 and older in late 2018 and early 2019 in two regions of Poland. Questions on food security were adapted based on the HFSS questionnaire and those on demographic characteristics, physical activity and selected health situations from the KomPAN questionnaire. Reasons for food insecurity were identified based on a principal component analysis (PCA). Ward’s hierarchical classification of variables and logistic regression analysis were used to assess the relationship between variables. A chisquare test was used to verify differences between variables. A value of p < 0.05 was considered the threshold for significance.
Results and conclusion. Based on the PCA analysis, two factors were identified to describe the reasons for food insecurity. The first factor was termed „economic-social‟ reasons and the second one „spatial-health‟ reasons. The first factor was associated with moderate or high physical activity, a health situation that was the same as or better than that of a person‟s peers, a normal body weight or lower prevalence of obesity and the absence of metabolic diseases and diseases that lead to loss of mobility. The second factor was associated with low or moderate physical activity, a health situation that was the same as or worse than that of a person‟s peers, being overweight or obese, having at least one metabolic disease and having diseases leading to loss of mobility. The study confirmed that the „economic-social‟ reason for food insecurity is more prominent in people with a higher level of physical activity and better health, while the „spatial-health‟ reason is more prominent in people with a lower level of physical activity and poorer health.
food insecurity, older adults, physical activity, BMI, metabolic diseases, impaired mobility