The face of senior hunger in America

In the United States, MOWAA-sponsored research has found that:

  • Nearly six million seniors faced the threat of hunger in 2007.
    11.4 percent of all seniors experienced some form of food insecurity. Of these, about 2.5 million were at risk.

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Hunger is a serious threat facing millions of seniors in the United States. Understanding the problem is a critical first step to developing strategies to eliminate it.
However, little research has been done in this area. That is why the Meals On Wheels Association of America Foundation, with generous underwriting from the Harrah’s Foundation, commissioned a 2008 research study entitled “The Causes, Consequences and Future of Senior Hunger in America.” In 2009, a follow-up to that groundbreaking…
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More Than a Meal Study

Meals on Wheels of RI was honored to be one of the eight programs nationwide that participated in a study from Brown University’s Center for Gerontology and Healthcare Research funded by AARP Foundation. Kali Thomas, Ph.D., a former MOWRI volunteer and granddaughter of a MOWRI client, designed and …

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Our research revealed seniors were more likely to be at risk of hunger if they were:

  • A young senior between the ages of 60 and 64
    Seniors age 80 and older were less likely to be food insecure compared to those aged 60-64.That is, an 84-year-old senior is over one-third less likely to be at-risk of hunger than a 64-year-old senior.
  • Living at or below the poverty line
    Households above 200 percent of the poverty line have nearly a 15 percentage point lower probability of…

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The future of senior hunger

  • In 2025, an estimated 9.5 million senior Americans will experience some form of food insecurity, about 75 percent higher than the number who experienced food insecurity in 2005.
  • In 2025, an estimated 3.9 million senior Americans
    will be at-risk

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There has been extensive work looking at the causes and consequences of nutrient-related deficiencies and other health outcomes among the elderly. However, much less research has been conducted on the health-related consequences of food insecurity among the elderly. We used data from the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to examine the health consequences of hunger for Americans over the age of 60.
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