Older Americans and the Threat of Hunger: The Role of the Food Security Infrastructure
Kelly Balistreri1, Leslie Reynolds1
1Bowling Green State University

Nearly 9 million older Americans representing almost 14% of the population ages 60 and older experience the threat of hunger. Policies implemented under the Older Americans Act support food and nutrition programs, with the combined goals of promoting health and alleviating hunger in order to help older adults remain in their homes and communities. And yet, the availability and use of these programs varies widely, with some estimates suggesting that food assistance programs reach less than a third of older adults who need them. Prior research has clearly demonstrated that a robust child-specific food security infrastructure helps economically vulnerable families with children remain food secure but no parallel studies have investigated whether the same is true for America’s older population.  The aim of the current study is to answer this question by exploring the role of the senior-specific food infrastructure in alleviating or exacerbating food hardship among America’s older population.