Older Adult Hunger: Theoretical Support for Community-Based Nutrition Programs
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Food insecurity affects over 10 million older adults in the United States. Older adults who experience food insecurity are at greater risk for malnutrition, which can lead to chronic disease and functional decline. Two-thirds of older adults already have two or more chronic disease, placing food-insecure older adults at even greater risk for increased health care costs and hospitalization. To promote successful aging, older adults need resources to help them overcome the barriers they encounter when attempting to access healthy foods. Select government programs have been established to help older adults obtain and consume nutritious meals, but further efforts are needed to validate the effectiveness and importance of these nutrition programs. Examination of government nutrition programs can be enhanced through a social cognitive perspective. This paper will review constructs of the social cognitive theory (SCT) that help explain the dietary habits of food-insecure older adults and will use the SCT to explain how senior nutrition programs can help facilitate healthy eating behaviors.
- Community Change