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Assessing the Food and Nutrition Desires and Needs of Food Pantry Guests Aged 50 Years and Older

Sheppard, Rachel
Food insecurity can affect one's overall health physically, socially, and mentally. Our Daily Bread Food and Resource Center guest, 50 years of age and older were surveyed to assess food security, nutrition status, health, and educational preferences and desires. Comparisons were made between participants 50-64 years of age (pre-seniors) and participants 65 years of age and older (seniors). A seven-page survey was administrated to the food pantry guest. Overall, 119 participants participated, 59 pre-seniors and 60 seniors. The majority were female; Caucasian; divorced, separated, or widowed; unemployed; and from Stillwater. The majority had a high school diploma or less and annual income less than $12,000. Overall, 63% were food insecure. The majority reported the food received from the food pantry helped them to continue to live home. The majority reported having very few to no friends or family to help them. A large percentage reported consuming less than the lowest recommended intake of fruits and vegetables. Related to health, a descent percent of diseases were reported including high blood pressure, arthritis, dental problems, fatigue, depression, and diabetes. Overall, few individuals showed a positive interest for food and nutrition education programs. The most popular time for an educational session was approximately 30 minutes in length, early on a weekday. Educational aspects most desired were recipes, handouts, and food demonstrations. The top educational topics participants were interested in were how to utilize their financial resources to live a healthier lives and nutrition information related to disease. More research is needed to be able to extrapolate the data and indicate whether this population is representative of more of Oklahoma.