Associations of food insecurity and psychosocial measures with diet quality in adults aging with HIV

Academic Article


  • People aging with HIV face social stressors which may negatively affect their overall nutrition. Here, we assess relationships between self-reported measures of depression, perceived stress, social support, and food insecurity with diet quality in older adults with HIV. A retrospective analysis of self-reported data from parent study at The University of Alabama at Birmingham 1917 HIV Clinic was performed. The study sample consisted of sixty people living with HIV (PLWH) with controlled HIV infection (<50 copies/mL), aged 50 years or older who participated in a cross-sectional microbiome study. Dietary intake was measured using the NHANES 12-month Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ) and three Automated Self-Administered (ASA) 24-hr diet recalls to calculate diet quality scores using the Mediterranean Diet Score (MDS); alternative Healthy Eating Index (aHEI); and the Recommended Food Score (RFS) indices. Food insecurity was measured with the Food Security Questionnaire (FSQ). Participants completed the following psychosocial scales: (1) depression – Patient Health Questionnaire-8 (PHQ8); (2) perceived stress–Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10); (3) social support – Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS). Linear regression models were used to investigate relationships among variables controlling for gender and income. The cohort was characterized as follows: Mean age 56 ± 4.6 years, 80% African-American, and 32% women. Mean body mass index (BMI) was 28.4 ± 7.2 with 55% reporting food insecurity. Most participants reported having post-secondary education (53%), although 77% reported annual incomes <$20,000. Food insecurity was independently associated with measures of poor dietary intake: aHEI (β = −0.08, p =.02) and MDS (β = −0.23, p < 0.01) and with low dietary intake of fibre (β = −0.27, p =.04), vitamin E (β = −0.35, p =.01), folate (β = −0.31, p =.02), magnesium (β = −0.34, p =.01) and copper (β = −0.36, p =.01). These data indicate food insecurity is associated with poor diet quality among PLWH. Clinical interventions are needed to improve food access for PLWH of low SES.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Muhammad JN; Fernandez JR; Clay OJ; Saag MS; Overton ET; Willig AL
  • Start Page

  • 554
  • End Page

  • 562
  • Volume

  • 31
  • Issue

  • 5