Associations of Food Insecurity with Dietary Inflammatory Potential and Risk of Low Muscle Strength

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Food insecurity refers to the uncertain availability of or limited access to nutritious food. Poor diets prevalent among food insecure populations may incite an inflammatory state and subsequently negatively affect skeletal muscle metabolism. To examine the inflammatory mechanistic potential of the association between food insecurity and the risk of low muscle strength, we analyzed cross-sectional data from 8624 adults aged ≥20 years from the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2014–2015. Household food security status was assessed using an 18-item food security survey module. The inflammatory potential of diets was estimated by the dietary inflammation index (DII). Low muscle strength was ascertained using hand grip strength. In the multivariable-adjusted model, greater food insecurity was significantly associated with a higher DII score and risk of low muscle strength. The multivariable-adjusted mean difference (95% confidence interval) on the DII, comparing the “moderate-to-severe” food insecurity group with the “food secure” group, was 0.43 (0.06–0.80) (P-trend: <0.001) and the odds ratio (95% confidence intervals) of low muscle strength for the same comparison groups was 2.06 (1.07–3.96) (P-trend: 0.005). Our results suggest that individuals with greater food insecurity may be susceptible to diets with greater inflammatory potential, which may contribute to a loss of muscle strength.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1120
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2023

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© 2023 by the authors.


  • dietary inflammatory index
  • food insecurity
  • hand grip strength
  • inflammation
  • muscle strength


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