Seniors

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS

UKCPR, with underwriting from the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will competitively award grants to qualified individuals and institutions to provide rigorous research that expands understanding of, and the attendant policy implications for, food-related hardships among older persons in the United States. For purposes of this RFP, older persons are defined as those ages 60 and older. We seek research proposals in one of three topical domains: (1) Describing households with food insecure seniors, including, but not limited to, factors such as functional status and ability to live independently, access to transportation, mental function, spousal health status, and social network and family connections; (2) Understanding factors underlying participation and recertification in food assistance and other safety net programs; and (3) Evaluating the causal impact of food and non-food assistance programs on health and nutrition outcomes, as well as related outcomes such as consumption tradeoffs. Total anticipated funding under this mechanism is $1.2 million for one large grant at $500,000, two large grants at $250,000 each, and four small grants at $50,000 each.

A requested letter of intent to submit a proposal is due by December 12, 2018. Full proposals are due January 23, 2019, with award dates on or about March 27, 2019.

The full RFP is available here.  Conformance to all application requirements is required. Please direct administrative questions to Mr. Jeffrey Spradling at < ukcpr@uky.edu > and reference RFP on Food Hardships in the subject line.

 

The impetus for this new research initative is recognition that Increasing numbers of seniors in the United States are going without enough food due to economic constraints, and this has not abated in recent years even in the midst of an improving economy and financial markets. Begininng with the pathbreaking 2008 study, The Causes, Consequences, and Future of Senior Hunger in America, UKCPR Director James Ziliak and Craig Gundersen of University of Illinois, have conducted a series of studies with the support of the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger (NFESH), Feeding America, AARP Foundation, Merck Foundation, and the Meals On Wheels Association of America. As reported in the recent "The State of Senior Hunger in America 2016: An Annual Report," in 2016 13.6% of persons age 60 and older were marginally food insecure, 7.7% were food insecure, and 2.9% were very low food secure, which translates into 8.6 million, 4.9 million, and 1.8 million seniors, respectively. As depicted in the figure, this is an increase of 45% since 2001 in the fraction food insecure, and a doubling of those classified as very low food secure.

2018

The state of senior hunger in America 2016: An annual report

In the annual report for calendar year 2016, we find that: 13.6% of seniors are marginally food insecure, 7.7% are food insecure, and 2.9% are very low food secure. This translates into 8.6 million, 4.9 million, and 1.8 million seniors, respectively. From 2015 to 2016, there were statistically significant declines in the percentage of marginally food-insecure seniors. However, there were no statistically significant changes in food insecurity or very low food security. Looking at demographic categories, there were sizable and statistically significant declines for several categories among the marginally food insecure; however, only two groups – those with incomes above 200% of the poverty line and white seniors—experienced significant declines in food insecurity. Across all three measures, from 2014 to 2016 there were statistically significant declines of 2.2 percentage points, 1.2 percentage points, and 0.5 percentage points for marginal food insecurity, food insecurity, and very low food security. Compared to 2001, the fraction of marginal food insecure, food insecure, and very low food secure seniors increased by 27%, 45%, and 100%. The number of seniors in each group rose 90%, 113%, and 200%, which also reflects the growing population of seniors. 


2017

The health consequences of senior hunger in the United States: Evidence from the 1999-2014 NHANES

In this report we examine the health consequences of food insecurity among seniors. The report updates our earlier studies on this issue by examining how trends in health and nutrition outcomes among food secure and food insecure seniors have changed over the past decade before and after the Great Recession. Using data from the 1999-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, we find that (1) Food insecure seniors have lower nutrient intakes. For each of the eleven nutrients, average intakes are statistically significantly lower by between 9 and 26 percent for food insecure seniors in comparison to food secure seniors. After controlling for other confounding factors, the effect of food insecurity is still negative for each of the nutrients albeit in some of the cases, the effect is statistically insignificant. These differences in nutrient intakes held across time as well; (2) Food insecure seniors have worse health outcomes. For a wide array of health outcomes, food insecure seniors are worse-off than food secure seniors. Namely, they are 65 percent more likely to be diabetic, twice as likely to report fair or poor general health, 2.3 times more likely to suffer from depression, over 30 percent more likely to report at least one ADL limitation, 19 percent more likely to have high blood pressure, 57 percent more likely to have congestive heart failure, 66 more likely to have experienced a heart attack, twice as likely to report having gum disease, and 91 percent more likely to have asthma. These differences were present in both the aggregate and for each four-year time period we examined. And, with the exception of gum disease, these worse outcomes hold even after controlling for other factors, though attenuated in magnitude; and (3) The effect of food insecurity holds even for a lower-income sample. As shown in Ziliak and Gundersen (2017), food insecurity rates are substantially higher for those with incomes less than two times the poverty line. So, we investigated whether or not the negative association of food insecurity with nutrient intakes and health remain even when we limit our multivariate analyses to those with incomes below twice the poverty line. We find that, in the main, the substantive and statistical significance of the results are quite similar to those for the full sample. This further demonstrates the importance of looking at food insecurity as an independent predictor of negative health and nutrition outcomes, even among lower-income seniors.


The state of senior hunger in America 2015: An annual report

This annual report for calendar year 2015  demonstrates that seniors continue to face serious challenges despite a recent slight decline in food insecurity. 

Specifically, in 2015 we find that: (1) 14.7% of seniors face marginal food insecurity, 8.1% face food insecurity and 3.1% are very low food secure. This translates into 9.8 million, 5.4 million, and 2.1 million seniors, respectively; (2) From 2014 to 2015, there were statistically significant declines in the proportion of seniors facing both marginal food insecurity and food insecurity. However, there was no change in those facing very low food security. These declines were most pronounced among those living in metro areas, African Americans, Hispanics, and younger seniors; (3) Compared to 2001, the fraction of seniors experiencing marginal food insecurity, food insecurity, and very low food security has increased by 37%, 53%, and 121%. The number of seniors in each group rose 109%, 135%, and 250% which also reflects the growing population of seniors. and (4) Continuing with historic trends documented in prior reports, we find that marginal food insecurity is greatest among those living in states in the South and Southwest, those who are racial or ethnic minorities, those with lower incomes, and those who are younger (ages 60-69). 


2016

The state of senior hunger in America 2014: An annual report

In our update for the calendar year 2014, we find that 15.8% of seniors are marginally food insecure, 8.8% are food insecure, and 3.4% are very low food secure. This translates into 10.2 million, 5.7 million, and 2.2 million seniors, respectively. From 2001 to 2014, the fraction of seniors experiencing the marginal food insecurity, food insecurity, and very low food security increased by 47%, 68%, and 138%, respectively. The number of seniors in each group rose 119%, 148%, and 252% which also reflects the growing population of seniors. These increases are substantially higher than the full population which saw increases in food insecurity rates and very low food security rates of 30.8% and 69.7% and increases in numbers of 49.7% and 97.6%. 


2015

The state of senior hunger in America 2013: An annual report

Based on the barometer of food insecurity, this report demonstrates that seniors continue to face increasing challenges despite the end of the Great Recession. Specifically, in 2013 we find that 15.5% of seniors marginally food insecurer, 8.7% are food insecure, and 3.3% are very low food secure. This translates into 9.6 million, 5.4 million, and 2.0 million seniors, respectively. Since the onset of the recession in 2007 until 2013, the number of seniors experiencingfood insecurity has increased by 68%.


2014

The state of senior hunger in America 2012: An annual report

In this report we provide an overview of the extent and distribution of food insecurity in 2012 among seniors, along with trends over the past decade using national and state-level data from the December Supplements to the Current Population Survey (CPS). Based on the full set of 18 questions in the Core Food Security Module (CFSM), the module used by the USDA to establish the official food insecurity rates of households in the United States, our emphasis here is on quantifying the senior population facing the threat of hunger (i.e. marginally food insecure). A supplement to this report also presents evidence on seniors at risk of hunger (i.e. food insecure) and on seniors facing hunger (i.e. very low food secure). This report demonstrates that seniors in 2012 continued to face increasing challenges meeting food need. Specifically, we find that

       • 15.3% of seniors face the threat of hunger. This translates into 9.3 million seniors.

       • Those living in states in the South and Southwest, those who are racial or ethnic minorities, those with lower incomes, and those who are younger (ages 60-69) are most likely to be threatened by hunger

.      • Out of those seniors who face the threat of hunger, the majority have incomes above the poverty line and are white.

      • From 2001 to 2012, the fraction of seniors experiencing the threat of hunger increased by 44%. The number of seniors rose by 98% which also reflects the growing population of seniors.

      • Since the onset of the recession in 2007 until 2012, the number of seniors experiencing the threat of hunger has increased by 49%.


The health consequences of senior hunger in the United States: Evidence from the 1999-2010 NHANES

Food insecure seniors have lower nutrient intakes. For each of the eleven nutrients, average intakes are statistically significantly lower generally by 10-20 percent for food insecure seniors in comparison to food secure seniors. After controlling for other confounding factors, the effect of food insecurity is still negative for each of the nutrients albeit in some of the cases, the effect is statistically insignificant. These differences in health outcomes held across time. Food insecure seniors have worse health outcomes. For a wide array of health outcomes, food insecure seniors are worse-off than food secure seniors. Namely, they are 50 percent more likely to be diabetic, twice as likely to report fair or poor general health, three times more likely to suffer from depression, 30 percent more likely to report at least one ADL limitation, 14 percent more likely to have high blood pressure, nearly 60 percent more likely to have congestive heart failure or experienced a heart attack, and twice as likely to report having gum disease or have asthma. These differences were present in both the aggregate and for each four-year time period we examined. And, with the exception of gum disease, these worse outcomes hold even after controlling for other factors, though attenuated in magnitude. The effect of food insecurity holds even for a lower-income sample. As shown in Ziliak and Gundersen (2013), food insecurity rates are substantially higher for those with incomes less than 200% of the poverty line. So, we investigated whether or not the negative association of food insecurity with nutrient intakes and health remain even when we limit our multivariate analyses to those with incomes below 200% of the poverty line. We find that, in the main, the substantive and statistical significance of the results are quite similar to those for the full sample. This further demonstrates the importance of looking at food insecurity as an independent predictor of negative health and nutrition outcomes, even among lower-income seniors.


2013

The state of senior hunger in America 2011: An annual report

In the report we provide an overview of the extent and distribution of food insecurity among senior Americans in 2011, along with trends over the past decade using national and state-level data from the December Supplements to the Current Population Survey (CPS). Based on the full set of 18 questions in the Core Food Security Module (CFSM), the module used by the USDA to establish the official food insecurity rates of households in the United States, our emphasis here is on quantifying the senior population facing the threat of hunger (i.e. marginally food insecure). A supplement to this report also presents evidence on seniors at risk of hunger (i.e. food insecure) and on seniors facing hunger (i.e. very low food secure).

The Great Recession has caused extreme hardship on many families in the United States, and senior Americans are no exception. Based on the barometer of marginal food insecurity, this report card demonstrates that in 2011 this hardship continues:
• 15.2% of seniors, or 8.8 million, face the threat of hunger. This is a statistically significant increase from 14.3% since 2009, the end of the Great Recession.
• Those living in states in the South and Southwest, those who are racial or ethnic minorities, those with lower incomes, and those who are younger (ages 60-69) are most likely to be threatened by hunger.
• Out of those seniors who faced the threat of hunger, the majority had incomes above the poverty line and are white.
• From 2001 to 2011, the number of seniors experiencing the threat of hunger has increased by 88%.
• From the onset of the Great Recession in 2007 to 2011 the number of seniors experiencing the threat of hunger has increased by 42%.

 


2012

Multigenerational families and food insecurity

The prevalence of multigenerational families is on the rise in the United States, as is food insecurity. We estimate the effect of resident grandchildren on the risk of and transitions in food insecurity using repeated cross sections and longitudinally linked two-year panels of the Current Population Survey from 2001-2010. We find that rates of food insecurity in families with a grandchild present are at least twice as high in a typical year compared to families without a resident grandchild, and the extent of very low food security increased substantially faster among these households over the past decade. The rise in food insecurity during and after the Great Recession is due to both increased entry into food insecurity and decreased exit out of food insecurity. A similar trend accounts for the rise in multigenerational households during the recession—grandchildren were more likely to move in with their grandparents, and once there, were less likely to move out. There are also important differences in risk factors for food insecurity between multigenerational families and those with no grandchildren present. Our transition models show that whether grandchildren remain, or in periods of transition, multigenerational families are at heighted risk of entering food insecurity and remaining in this state. However, the entry of a grandchild may not always be a negative for the family’s food security, nor the exit of the child a positive. Entrance of a child seems to buffer the family from extreme forms of food insecurity while exit exposes the family to risk of deeper food insecurity.


Senior hunger in America 2010: An annual report

This study is the first in a series of annual reports on the state of senior hunger in the United States. In the report we provide an overview of the extent and distribution of food insecurity in 2010, along with trends over the past decade using national and state-level data from the December Supplements to the Current Population Survey (CPS). Based on the full set of 18 questions in the Core Food Security Module (CFSM), the module used by the USDA to establish the official food insecurity rates of households in the United States, our emphasis here is on quantifying the senior population facing the threat of hunger (i.e. marginally food insecure). A supplement to this report also presents evidence on seniors at risk of hunger (i.e. food insecure) and on seniors facing hunger (i.e. very low food secure). The Great Recession has caused extreme hardship on many families in the United States, and senior Americans are no exception. Based on the barometer of food insecurity, this report demonstrates that our seniors may face more challenges than initially thought. Unlike the population as a whole, food insecurity among those age 60 and older actually increased between 2009 and 2010. These increases were most pronounced among the near poor, whites, widows, non-metro residents, the retired, women, and among households with no grandchildren present.

Specifically, in 2010 we find that
• 14.85% of seniors, or more than 1 in 7, face the threat of hunger. This translates into 8.3 million seniors. In contrast, in Ziliak, et al. (2008) we reported that as of 2005 1 in 9 seniors faced the threat of hunger.
• Those living in states in the South and Southwest, those who are racial or ethnic minorities, those with lower incomes, and those who are younger (ages 60-69) are most likely to be threatened by hunger.
• Out of those seniors who face the threat of hunger, the majority have incomes above the poverty line and are white.
• From 2001 to 2010, the number of seniors experiencing the threat of hunger has increased by 78%. Since the onset of the recession in 2007 to 2010, the number of seniors experiencing the threat of hunger has increased by 34%.