Food insecurity is a social determinant of health associated with cognitive impairments in older adults and people living with HIV (PLWH). Few studies have examined this relation longitudinally, and no studies have explored how the frequency of food insecurity over time may impact cognitive impairment.
This study aimed to examine the impact of food insecurity on cognitive impairment over a 2-y follow-up period in a cohort of people living with and without HIV.
This was a 2-y longitudinal analysis of primarily economically disadvantaged, middle-aged, Black, and Hispanic participants from the Miami Adult Studies on HIV (MASH) cohort. Food insecurity was assessed with the USDA Household Food Security Module at baseline and 12- and 24-mo follow-ups. Food insecurity in all 3 assessments was considered persistent food insecurity. Cognitive impairment was assessed with the Mini-Mental State Examination. Statistical analyses consisted of logistic regressions.
A total of 394 participants (247 HIV positive) with 2-y follow-up data were included in this analysis. At baseline, 104 (26.4%) were food-insecure and 58 (14.7%) had cognitive impairment. Very low food security was associated with cognitive impairment at baseline (OR: 3.23; 95% CI: 1.08, 9.65). PLWH not virally suppressed had higher risk for cognitive impairment compared with HIV-uninfected participants (OR: 2.87; 95% CI: 1.15, 7.18). Additionally, baseline food insecurity (OR: 2.28; 95% CI: 1.08, 4.81) and the frequency of food insecurity over time (OR: 1.50 per year; 95% CI: 1.08, 2.10), particularly persistent food insecurity (OR: 3.69; 95% CI: 1.15, 11.83), were associated with cognitive impairment at 2-y follow-up; the results were consistent after excluding cognitively impaired participants at baseline.
Food insecurity is a significant risk factor for cognitive impairment, particularly among individuals who experience food insecurity frequently or persistently. Screening for food insecurity and interventions to secure access to sufficient, nutritious foods may help delay cognitive decline among socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals.