Article

Food Security, Dietary Intake, and Foodways of Urban Low-Income Older South African Women: An Exploratory Study

Citation

Odunitan-Wayas FA, Faber M, Mendham AM, Goedecke JH, Micklesfield LK, Brooks NE, Christensen DL, Gallagher IJ, Myburgh KH, Hunter AM & Lambert EV (2021) Food Security, Dietary Intake, and Foodways of Urban Low-Income Older South African Women: An Exploratory Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18 (8), Art. No.: 3973. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18083973

Abstract
This cross-sectional study explored the differences in sociodemographics, dietary intake, and household foodways (cultural, socioeconomic practices that affect food purchase, consumption, and preferences) of food secure and food insecure older women living in a low-income urban setting in South Africa. Women (n = 122) aged 60–85 years old were recruited, a sociodemographic questionnaire was completed, and food security categories were determined. The categories were dichotomised into food secure (food secure and mild food insecurity) and food insecure (moderate and severe). A one-week quantified food frequency questionnaire was administered. Height and weight were measured to calculate body mass index (BMI, kg/m2). Most participants ( > 90%) were overweight/obese, unmarried/widowed, and breadwinners with a low monthly household income. Food insecure participants (36.9%) more frequently borrowed money for food (57.8% vs. 39.0%, p = 0.04), ate less so that their children could have more to eat (64.4%. vs. 27.3%, p = 0.001), and had higher housing density (1.2 vs. 1.0, p = 0.03), compared to their food-secure counterparts. Overall, < 30% of participants met the WHO (Geneva, Switzerland) recommended daily servings of healthy foods (fruits, vegetables, and dairy products), but > 60% perceived that they consumed an adequate amount of healthy foods. The overall low-quality diet of our cohort was associated with poor nutritional perceptions and choices, coupled with financial constraints.

Keywords
older women; food-related decisions; coping strategies; well-being; nutrition

Journal
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health: Volume 18, Issue 8

StatusPublished
FundersMRC Medical Research Council
Publication date30/04/2021
Publication date online09/04/2021
Date accepted by journal07/04/2021
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/32525
PublisherMDPI AG
eISSN1660-4601