Although low-income senior citizens are at higher risk of food insecurity, all food insecure senior citizens – regardless of income – experience lower nutrient intake and poorer health outcomes than food secure seniors.
That’s according to recently released research by Feeding America and the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger. Entitled Spotlight on Senior Health: Adverse Health Outcomes of Food Insecure Older Americans, the study reveals that food insecurity among seniors is associated with a number of diseases and other negative health consequences.
When compared to food secure seniors, food insecure seniors are:
- 60 percent more likely to experience depression;
- 53 percent more likely to report a heart attack;
- 52 percent more likely to develop asthma; and
- 40 percent more likely to report an experience of congestive heart failure.
In addition, the study finds that food insecure seniors are more likely than those who are food secure to have lower nutrient intake and to be at a higher risk for chronic health conditions and depression.
The study also shows that those aged 60 and older experience more severe health consequences as a result of food insecurity compared to younger adults, underscoring the critical nature in identifying solutions for seniors struggling with hunger.
What’s most troubling is the number of food-insecure senior citizens in the U.S. has doubled since 2007, the onset of the downturn in the economy. According to Feeding America, the food insecurity level among Connecticut senior citizens was 6.8 percent in 2011, which is the most recent data available. Many of them are making tough choices every day, whether to pay rent, utilities, medicine or food.
To learn more, click on the link to the Spotlight on Senior Health Executive Summary.