Food insecurity, food and nutrition programs, and aging: Experiences from Georgia

  • Lee J
  • Fischer J
  • Johnson M
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Abstract

Food insecurity and hunger are real and growing problems in the United States. Among older adults, the prevalence of food insecurity is at a 14-year high and occurred in more than 8% of households with older adults in 2008 according to USDA. However, the rate is at least 10% higher when less severe degrees of food insecurity are considered. Emerging research suggests that several segments of the older adult population are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity, including those receiving or requesting congregate meals, home-delivered meals, and other community-based services. Thus, national and state estimates of food insecurity may obscure problems in specific subgroups of older adults. Older adults are at high risk of chronic health problems that can be exacerbated by food insecurity, poor nutritional status, and low physical activity. To help improve targeting of food and nutrition programs to those most in need because of food insecurity and/or nutrition-related chronic health problems, the purposes of this review are (1) to define the prevalence and consequences of food insecurity; (2) to discuss the outcomes of some food, nutrition, disease prevention, and health promotion programs targeted to older adults in Georgia, the state with the 3rd highest prevalence of food insecurity; and (3) to make recommendations for research, service, and advocacy related to monitoring and alleviating food insecurity and related health problems in older adults.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Congregate meals
  • Food insecurity
  • Health promotion
  • Home-delivered meals
  • Older Americans act
  • Older adults

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Authors

  • Jung Sun Lee

  • Joan G. Fischer

  • Mary Ann Johnson

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