//Elderly Food Insecurity Studied by GSU Economist

Elderly Food Insecurity Studied by GSU Economist

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ATLANTA – Georgia State University economist James Marton and his team have been awarded a $250,000 grant to evaluate the impact of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) on the food security and health of people aged 60 and older, reported Metro Atlanta Ceo.

The two-year study, conducted for the University of Kentucky Center for Policy Research with funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), will expand the understanding of and policy implications for food-related hardships among older Americans to better grasp the 45 percent increase since 2001 of food insecurity among elderly.

Metro Atlanta CEO continued that the number of elderly people is also growing at a faster rate, suggesting that even if the proportion of those who are food insecure remains the same, the number of those affected will continue to grow in absolute terms.

“Food insecurity is a leading public health challenge in the U.S., particularly among seniors,” said Marton. “The odds they will be depressed, suffer serious heart conditions or complications from asthma are 50 to 60 percent higher. The odds that their daily activities will be limited are 22 percent higher. These health outcomes lead to added financial burdens for themselves and the healthcare system.”

Marton’s research team includes economists and co-investigators Rusty Tchernis, a professor in Georgia State’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, and Chuck Courtemanche of the University of Kentucky, along with Andrew Young School alum Austin Denteh, an assistant professor at Tulane University, and doctoral candidate Jordan Jones. They will use three large national data sets to explore the dynamics of SNAP’s effects on seniors.

Marton also said that is it is discovered that SNAP generally improves seniors’ food security and health outcomes, it may lead the USDA to develop ways to improve senior participation in SNAP.

However, if found that SNAP harms seniors or has no effect, it would suggest they explore changes to the program that will improve senior outcomes.