A new report, entitled Spotlight on Senior Hunger, examining the growth of senior hunger in the United States finds that the number of food insecure seniors above the age of 60 has more than doubled to 4.8 million from 2001 to 2011. The report also reveals that the rate of senior hunger has increased over the past decade due largely to the Great Recession. The findings show that this growth was most pronounced in baby boomers (i.e. the"young old" age 60 – 69).
Spotlight on Senior Hunger–released jointly by the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger (NFESH) and Feeding America–confirms the number of food insecure seniors, who may not know where they will find their next meal, in 2011 was 50 percent higher than before the recession in 2007. The aging baby boomer generation experienced the highest percentage of food insecurity among seniors, with 64.75 percent of all food insecure seniors qualifying as baby boomers (age 60-69), in contrast to 11.85 percent of food insecure seniors age 80 or older. The study also notes there has also been a statistically significant increase among those individuals who are unemployed (9.35 percentage point change), who are disabled (4.16 percentage point change) and among Hispanics (3.96 percentage point change).
"The numbers do not lie. I have been working on this issue for more than 20 years and each year it only gets worse, and how rapidly it has gotten worse is a cause for particular concern," Enid Borden, founder, president and CEO of NFESH said."4.8 million seniors is equal to the population of the city of Cleveland. This reality is absolutely unacceptable, and we intend to work with partners like Feeding America not only in an effort to put an end to senior hunger, but also to prevent it from happening in the first place. We are focused on finding the solutions to break the lifecycle of hunger. This new report shows how urgent that work is."
"Seniors who have worked hard throughout their lives to contribute to our country should not have to worry about finding their next meal," said Bob Aiken, president and CEO of Feeding America."Together with our partners, our national network of food banks is addressing today's growing need while also working to help solve hunger among this vulnerable population."
Spotlight on Senior Hunger is based on new research conducted by Dr. James P. Ziliak of the University of Kentucky and Dr. Craig G. Gundersen of the University of Illinois. The researchers documented the state of hunger among senior Americans age 60 and older in 2011 using data from the Core Food Security Module (CFSM) in Current Population Study (CPS). The CFSM is a series of questions, as part of the CPS, to which households respond each year. Each question is designed to capture some aspect of food insecurity. Respondents are asked about their food security status in the last 30 days as well as over the past 12 months.
The publication of the Spotlight on Senior Hunger was generously supported by HMS, the nation's leader in healthcare cost containment solutions for government-funded, commercial, and private entities, and is based on research that was commissioned and underwrit�ten by the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger.
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Feeding America is the nationwide network of 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 46 million people through 60,000 food pantries and meal programs in communities across America. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
Through research, education and community partnership, the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger (NFESH) harnesses the resources necessary to reverse the escalating number of seniors in the life cycle of hunger. For more information visit: www.nfesh.org.
HMS powers the healthcare system with integrity. The Irving, Texas-based company leads the nation in cost-containment services for commercial and government payers, including Medicaid and Medicare. Each year HMS saves clients more than $10 billion, allowing healthcare resources to reach more people. Learn more about HMS at www.hms.com.