Search type

Social Statistics

Food insecurity, nutritional deficiency and older people in the UK: A scoping study

Sign to a food bank

Dr K. Purdam, E. Garratt and Prof A. Esmail



I buy the reduced bread in the supermarket and freeze it.…it’s alright. I go to my daughters to get extra food. Most of my pension goes on fuel to keep warm…I’ve got to keep warm. I run out of money towards the end of the week. I take some food for my neighbour as well. He’s a carer and can’t come out to the foodbank

Female 65 / West Indian, widow, retired

The problem

Food insecurity, when people do not have the capacity and resources to ensure a sufficient supply of nutritionally appropriate food, has again become a critical ethical and social policy issue in the UK. More than 1 million people aged 65 years and older in the UK are estimated to be malnourished.


The scoping research includes: an evidence review, a practitioners and public evidence call, modeling of food insecurity risk factors using the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing and a series of interviews and discussions with foodbank users and volunteers.


The research will contribute to the development of a shared understanding of the food insecurity risks faced by older people and the circumstances and experiences of people using foodbanks.

Dr. K. Purdam leads this interdisciplinary research project in collaboration with Professor A. Esmail and E. Garratt alongside colleagues in health research and social statistics at the University of Manchester.

Evidence call - older people and food insecurity

The evidence review aims to draw together research and analysis; published papers and reports in the field of nutrition and food insecurity amongst older people in the UK and also internationally. Feel free to send files and/or references with as full bibliographic details as possible. Please submit your evidence by Friday, 12 September 2014.

Please direct your response, or any queries you may have about this call or the project as a whole, by email to