Older Americans: Food Security, Nutrition, Health and Functionality

Speaker: Jean L. Lloyd, MS, National Nutritionist, US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging

Given the unprecedented increase in the aging population, the demand for nutrition, health care, and social services by older persons will increase. The ability to access and choose adequate, safe, and healthy food is essential if older adults are to remain independent at home in the community. Despite the strength of the nation's nutrition assistance programs, hunger and food insecurity are persistent problems in older adults in the U.S. There has been a substantial increase in the cost of food and energy in the recent years that along with current changes in the U.S. economic conditions which impact how households will allocate money toward food expenditure. This is critical for older adult households that are on fixed incomes. Any increases in the cost of living effectively reduce the income of retired older adults. This is particularly true for food insecure older Americas who often experience multiple barriers to obtaining adequate amounts of the foods they need for health. The Older Americans Act is up for reauthorization in the near future, and discussions on older adult issues are very timely and critical.