Low-Income Older Adults' Use of Food Pantries As a Way to Cope with Food Insecurity
Robinson, Hannah Grace
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The prevalence of food insecurity in the nation has become increasingly prominent, especially among older adults. In particular, Oklahoma has been found to be one of the hungriest states in the nation with 1 out of 5.9 older adults being food insecure. A survey was developed and distributed to older adults, 65 years of age and older, who obtained food from pantries in and surrounding Stillwater, Oklahoma. Food pantries included were the First United Methodist Church storehouse, Church of Christ food pantry, Lost Creek United Methodist Church food pantry, Mehan Union Church food pantry and Glencoe United Methodist Church food pantry. A total of 109 participant surveys were included in data analysis. Results indicated that nearly all participants relied on food pantries as their primary source of food assistance (98%). Self-reported intakes were below recommended intakes for all MyPlate food groups and fluids. As for food security coping strategies, participants were "often" or "sometimes" eating smaller meals (79%), skipping meals (64%) or stretching meats (86%). Participants' who wanted to have healthier food choices at the pantry, included more low fat choices (39%), low sugar food choices (46%) and low salt food choices (47%). Findings from this study imply that food pantries should increase fruits, vegetables, dairy and whole grain options; and decrease the amount of high sodium, added sugar and fat options. Further implications include educating food donors, food pantry staff, and older adult food pantry clients on nutrition and specialized food donations. Additionally, older adult food pantry clients should be educated and encouraged to take advantage of SNAP benefits, which could aide in their overall food assistance.
- OSU Theses