Malnutrition and Minority Older Adults: A Health Equity Issue

 

April is National Minority Health Month. The U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services labels it
as a “time to raise awareness on issues impacting health disparities and health equity in America.”
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

 

 

Food insecurity is not a simple concept – it’s hard to pinpoint if another facet of a person’s life is a cause of food insecurity or a result of it. But one thing most researchers and advocates agree on is that equity – in regards to things like income distribution, access to nutritious food, access to health and social services and access to education – plays a big part in how healthy a person is, mentally and physically.

April is National Minority Health Month and this year, the theme of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services initiative is “Bridging Health Equity Across Communities.” This article by the Huffington Post focuses on why health equity is important and how inequity affects our older minority populations, once again demonstrating that while hunger and all of the underlying issues associated with it are not selective – they affect all ages – the problem continues to disproportionately affect people of color.

 

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Daniel’s Table: fighting food insecurity one city at a time

In Framingham, David Blais chatted with children who were waiting for grilled cheese sandwiches. // SUZANNE KREITER/GLOBE STAFF/FILE 2014

In my search for information about food insecurity, I often come across the stories of people around the country who are doing their part to help more people have access to consistent, healthy food.

This short Q-and-A piece by the Boston Globe focuses on David Blaise, the owner of the Foodie Cafe in Framingham, Massachusetts, and the efforts he and his wife are making to fight food insecurity one town at a time.

In three years, they’ve gone from distributing 225 meals to 15,000 meals a month. That’s pretty awesome.

Fighting food insecurity: Examples of action

We’ve looked at the health and economical costs of hunger and we’ve looked at the numbers that tell us just how big the problem of food insecurity is. Now, let’s start looking at examples of efforts to solve the problem.

Canned vegetables line the shelves of food pantry at San Antonio Community College. KENS 5 Eyewitness News

In south Texas,  students and staff at San Antonio College have launched a food pantry that’s part of their new  Student Advocacy Center (SAC). The food pantry came to fruition after staff members learned about a similar project in Amarillo at Amarillo College. Students can fill two bags with food, toiletries and many other things they’d find at a grocery store.

“Let us try and see if there’s not something we can bring to bear to keep you here,” said Lisa Black, SAC Co-creator and associate professor of social work at San Antonio College. “That gives people encouragement. It gives them hope that we can hang on to our students.”