Existing research on the older population reveals that individuals of advanced age also struggle with food insecurity and may be particularly vulnerable, due to the negative health and nutrition implications of food insecurity. To better understand the complex relationships between food insecurity, older age, and other factors, Feeding America regularly partners with leading external organizations to release timely and relevant research on older adult and senior hunger.
In 2015, Feeding America released a study funded by the AARP Foundation to examine the circumstances of the 13 million individuals age 50 and older who receive charitable food assistance through the Feeding America network each year. Baby Boomers and Beyond: Facing Hunger after Fifty, is the result of analyses of the Hunger in America 2014 study data. The circumstances of clients age 50 and older were examined due to the unique and particularly vulnerable position of pre-entitlement and pre-retirement age older adults.
In partnership with the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger (NFESH), Feeding America also released two Spotlight studies on senior food insecurity.
The 2013 study, Spotlight on Senior Hunger, documents that 8.4 percent of the senior population age 60 and older was food insecure in 2011, meaning that nearly one in 12 seniors has limited access to food. This study also provides estimates of senior food insecurity by state in 2011.
The 2014 follow-up study, Spotlight on Senior Health: Adverse Health Outcomes of Food Insecure Older Americans, found that food insecure seniors consume fewer key nutrients than do food secure seniors. In addition, food insecure seniors are more likely to develop adverse health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, and heart problems, than their counterparts.