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Food Insecurity Increasing Among Older U.S. Adults

MONDAY, Jan. 11, 2021 -- Food insecurity is increasing among older adults and is tied to lower overall diet quality, according to a study published online Jan. 5 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Cindy W. Leung, Sc.D., and Julia A. Wolfson, Ph.D., from the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (2007 to 2016) to examine national trends in food insecurity among U.S. adults ages 60 years and older.

The researchers found that during the study period, food insecurity increased significantly from 5.5 to 12.4 percent among older adults, with the increase more pronounced among lower-income older adults. Based on linear regression models, food insecurity was associated with lower scores on diet quality indices, including the Healthy Eating Index, the Alternate Healthy Eating Index-2010, and the Mediterranean Diet Score. The investigators observed similar results even with the presence of chronic medical conditions.

"Continued investment in public health programs and policies are needed to simultaneously improve food security and nutritional intake for older Americans, all of which has become more urgent during the current COVID-19 pandemic," Leung said in a statement.

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Posted: January 2021

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