Earlier this month, Feeding America and The National Foundation to End Senior Hunger (NFESH) released The State of Senior Hunger in America in 2015, a study on food insecurity among seniors in the U.S. The report shows that 5.4 million seniors age 60 or older (8.1 percent) were food insecure in 2015, the most recent year for which data is available.
In addition, researchers found the following characteristics of seniors who struggle to meet their nutritional needs:
- Seniors who are racial or ethnic minorities, low-income or younger vs. older (age 60-69 vs. age 80+) were most likely to be affected by some level of food insecurity.
- Seniors who reported a disability were disproportionately affected, with 25% reporting food insecurity and an additional 13% reporting marginal food security.
- Senior food insecurity rates vary by state, ranging from 2.9% in North Dakota to 15.6% in Louisiana. When seniors who experience marginal food security are included, total rates vary from 6.1% in North Dakota to 24.3% in Mississippi. Seniors living in the South are more likely to experience food insecurity than seniors living in other parts of the country.
- Food insecurity adversely affects a person’s health, and the implications can be particularly problematic for seniors. Compared to food-secure seniors, food-insecure seniors:
- Consume fewer calories and lower quantities of key nutrients.
- Are more likely to experience negative health conditions, including depression, asthma, and chest pain.
In examining the extent of the threat of hunger nationally among seniors in 2015, the report also provides the rates of senior hunger in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Download the Executive Summary and Full Report Here!