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J Am Diet Assoc. 1997 Oct;97(10 Suppl 2):S120-2.

Elder insecurities: poverty, hunger, and malnutrition.

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Florida International University, Miami, USA.


Between 8% and 16% (2.5 to 4.9 million) of the elder population have experienced food insecurity within a 6-month period. Federal programs to combat food insecurity reach only one-third of needy elders. While hunger and poverty are linked directly to malnutrition, the multifaceted nature of elderly malnutrition cuts across all economic, racial, and ethnic groups. Malnourished patients experience 2 to 20 times more complications, have up to 100% longer hospital stays, and compile hospital costs $2,000 to $10,000 higher per stay. Dietitians can advocate routine nutrition screening to target elders at highest risk and lobby for expansion of appropriate nutrition services in home, community, and institutional settings.

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