Despite improvements in the economy, millions of U.S. seniors are still struggling with food insecurity

CHICAGOMay 16, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Feeding America® and The National Foundation to End Senior Hunger (NFESH) released today The State of Senior Hunger in America in 2016, a study about food insecurity among seniors in the United States

Food insecurity refers to the lack of access to enough nutritious food. The report shows that 4.9 million seniors age 60 or older (7.7 percent) were food insecure in 2016, the most recent year for which data is available. Although the current food-insecurity rate has declined recently, it remains substantially above the rate in 2007 (6.3 percent).

Despite improvements in the economy, millions of seniors in the U.S. are not able to afford enough food. Seniors with the lowest incomes are most at risk of being food insecure. Yet, about two-thirds of food-insecure seniors have income above the federal poverty line, and many likely do not qualify for federal nutrition programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP).

"Many Older Americans encounter a myriad of issues the general population does not face, including health conditions, transportation challenges, and physical limitations," said Feeding America President Matt Knott. "At Feeding America, we are looking at ways address food-insecure seniors' unique needs, so that they can live fuller, more food-secure lives, with as much dignity and independence as possible."

The issue of food insecurity among the elderly is larger than the lack of access to nutritious food alone. Research also demonstrates that food insecure seniors are at much greater risk of being diabetic, suffering from depression, having congestive heart failure, experiencing a heart attack or having asthma than food-secure elders.

"This 2016 report brings mixed news," said Enid A. Borden, Founder and CEO of NFESH. "On the one hand, a smaller percentage of seniors experienced food insecurity than in the previous two years – which is a clear demonstration that our efforts to raise public awareness and to address this national tragedy through programs at the community level can make a difference. But the bottom line is that more than twice as many older citizens struggled with lack of adequate food to remain healthy in 2016 as did in 2001."



get updates