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Food Insecurity - Ages 60+
Food Insecurity - Ages 60+ in Alabama

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Percentage of adults ages 60 and older who faced the threat of hunger in the past 12 months

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Food Insecurity - Ages 60+ by State

Percentage of adults ages 60 and older who faced the threat of hunger in the past 12 months

Food Insecurity - Ages 60+ Trends

Percentage of adults ages 60 and older who faced the threat of hunger in the past 12 months

Trend: Food Insecurity - Ages 60+ in Alabama, United States, 2023 Senior Report

Percentage of adults ages 60 and older who faced the threat of hunger in the past 12 months

United States

 Feeding America, The State of Senior Hunger in America

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About Food Insecurity - Ages 60+

US Value: 11.9%

Top State(s): New Hampshire: 6.4%

Bottom State(s): Louisiana: 21.0%

Definition: Percentage of adults ages 60 and older who faced the threat of hunger in the past 12 months

Data Source and Years: Feeding America, The State of Senior Hunger in America, 2019-2020

Suggested Citation: America's Health Rankings analysis of Feeding America, The State of Senior Hunger in America, United Health Foundation,, accessed 2023.

Food insecurity is a socioeconomic condition where access to food is limited or uncertain, and it differs from hunger, which is a physiological feeling. Food-insecure older adults have significantly reduced intakes of vital nutrients and a higher prevalence of health problems such as heart attack, congestive heart failure, diabetes, asthma and depression. 

Many older adults living at home report eating less or skipping meals entirely due to challenges obtaining or preparing food. Barriers to access include affordability and lack of reliable transportation, both of which may be complicated by older adults’ specific dietary needs. Even with food items available or in the house, more than half of older adults report difficulty cooking and eating meals due to functional impairments, disability, depression or general unwellness. 

Older adults with chronic conditions who experience food insecurity have higher health care costs compared with those who have the same conditions but are not food insecure. A 2019 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that adults experiencing food insecurity spent an average of $1,834 more than food-secure adults on annual health expenditures.

The prevalence of food insecurity is higher among: 

  • Older adults living near or below the poverty level compared with those living above the poverty level. 
  • Black and Hispanic older adults, who have a prevalence more than twice that of white older adults.
  • Older adults with a disability compared with those without a disability.
  • Older adults who rent. Older renters are more than 3 times as likely to be food insecure as homeowners of the same age. 
  • Older adults living alone compared with those who are married.

Many multidisciplinary programs are working to reduce food insecurity among older adults:

Reducing overall household food insecurity is a Healthy People 2030 Leading Health Indicator

“2020 Annual Report: Together We Are Feeding America.” Chicago, IL: Feeding America, 2021.

Berkowitz, Seth A., Sanjay Basu, Craig Gundersen, and Hilary K. Seligman. “State-Level and County-Level Estimates of Health Care Costs Associated with Food Insecurity.” Preventing Chronic Disease 16 (July 11, 2019): 180549.

Garcia, Sandra P., Anne Haddix, and Kevin Barnett. “Incremental Health Care Costs Associated With Food Insecurity and Chronic Conditions Among Older Adults.” Preventing Chronic Disease 15 (August 30, 2018): 180058.

Lee, Jung Sun, and Edward A. Frongillo Jr. “Nutritional and Health Consequences Are Associated with Food Insecurity among U.S. Elderly Persons.” The Journal of Nutrition 131, no. 5 (May 1, 2001): 1503–9.

“Spotlight on Senior Health: Adverse Health Outcomes of Food Insecure Older Americans.” Executive Summary. Feeding America, 2014.

Wolfe, Wendy S., Edward A. Frongillo, and Pascale Valois. “Understanding the Experience of Food Insecurity by Elders Suggests Ways to Improve Its Measurement.” The Journal of Nutrition 133, no. 9 (September 1, 2003): 2762–69.

Ziliak, James P., and Craig Gunderson. “The State of Senior Hunger in 2019: An Annual Report.” Feeding America, August 2021.

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