May 26, 2015

Hunger Continues to Take a Toll on Health of Older Americans

Almost 5 million older Americans are food-insecure, and chronic heart disease and depression are just two of the health conditions that a lack of nutrition can exacerbate, according to a Bread for the World fact sheet released today. As more baby boomers enter their 60s, the number of food-insecure Americans will rise.

“As people get older, they should be focusing on spending time with their loved ones and enjoying their golden years. After a lifetime of contributing to society, older Americans should not have to worry about where their next meal is going to come from,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World.

The leading causes of death among older Americans are cancer and heart disease. Food-insecure older Americans report more cases of heart-related conditions than their food-secure peers do. They are also 60 percent more likely to experience clinical depression. Food insecurity diminishes the nutrition intake of older adults by limiting the food options available to them. This is more pronounced in populations also facing poverty and racial inequality.

“Programs like SNAP, beyond buffering beneficiaries from food insecurity, afford the older population the option to eat healthier. However, participation rates in such programs among the older population remain low—especially among those aged 60 to 69,” said Beckmann. “Low participation rates are attributed to the stigma that unfortunately persists with such programs.”

Income inequality is also present and growing as the country’s oldest population grows. With the pressure of poverty and food insecurity, older Americans must find ways to address health issues, which are more prevalent as people age. Programs like SNAP (formerly food stamps) are crucial in breaking the harmful cycles of undernutrition and health problems among older Americans.

Tools
from our Resource Library

For Education

For Faith

  • Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty

    A diverse body of Christian leaders calls on the churches and Congress to focus on the integral connection.

    Dear Members of Congress,

    As the president and Congress are preparing their plans for this year, almost 100 church leaders—from all the families of U.S. Christianity—are...

  • In Times Like These … A Pan-African Christian Devotional for Public Policy Engagement

    This devotional guide invites deepened relationship with and among Pan-Af­rican people and elected leaders in the mission to end hunger and poverty.

  • Sermon by David Beckmann at Duke University Chapel

    Remarks delivered October 1, 2017 at Duke University Chapel in Chapel Hill in North Carolina.

    Thank you for inviting me to preach here at Duke University Chapel. And I especially want to thank the Bread for the World members who have come this morning.

    Bruce Puckett urged...

For Advocacy

  • U.S. Hunger and Poverty State Fact Sheets

    These fact sheets provide a snapshot of hunger and poverty in the United States and in each state plus Washington, D.C. 

  • Fact Sheet: Hunger by the Numbers

    In 2017, 11.8 percent of households in the U.S.—40 million people—were food-insecure, meaning that they were unsure at some point during the year about how they would provide for their next meal.

  • Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017

    Unnecessarily long prison sentences, combined with the lack of rehabilitative programs for people in prison, exacerbate hunger, poverty, and existing inequalities.

    Overly harsh mandatory minimum prison sentences have contributed to the rapid increase of our country’s prison population. The...

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