In the study of Nord (2003) entitled Measuring the Food Security of Elderly Persons, he evaluated the sufficiency of the US Food Security Scale when it comes to assessing the food security of the elderly population. More specifically, it evaluated the degree of pervasiveness of food insecurity and hunger to find out whether or not it is biased. The study was able to arrive at the finding that the US Food Security Scale does suitably represent the food security status of the elderly (Nord, 2003).
According to its statistical analysis, there is no possibility that the scale has not represented the degree of food insecurity and hunger in the elderly population. Based on the scale, there are some elderly who face problems regarding food-access and this is due to financial reasons or the struggle in going to a store. However, these are not enough reasons for their food intake to be interrupted and to be regarded as unsatisfactory. There are also elderly who are food-secure; however, they avail food assistance from programs and services for the elderly, hence, they are classified as less food-secure or food-insecure (Nord, 2003).
A study by Lee (2002) called Understanding Targeting in the Elderly Nutrition Program: A Focus on Food Insecurity has concluded that using food insecurity as a measure to assess the rate of hunger in the US is not appropriate for the elderly population. The reason behind it is because food insecurity among the elderly goes beyond the factors of poverty and financial shortage. There are other factors that need to be considered in measuring food insecurity among the elderly like health problems, physical disabilities, past experiences, world-views and religion (Lee, 2002).
The study, however, concluded that food insecurity is an appropriate indicator of nutritional risk. The presence of nutritional risk determined the need for food assistance services and programs. More so if the elderly are also experiencing poverty, insufficient education, belongs to the minority and having functional impairment which increases the nutritional risk to a higher level. Other indicators of food-insecure elderly are the unsatisfactory amount of intake of energy, protein, carbohydrate, saturated fat, niacin, Vitamins B6 and B12, magnesium, iron and zinc.
Thus, food insecurity is a factor of poor nutritional status of the elderly population (Lee, 2002). Even though food insecurity is an effective indicator of nutritional risk and the must of food assistance programs, it is not sufficient enough to be targeted highly by the ENP (Lee, 2002). The ENP has its own definition of need for food assistance; it is based on the capability of the elderly to eat properly to be able to sustain good nutrition and health. If they are capable in doing this, the goal of the ENP is met and that is to be able to let the elderly live independently in their own houses.
The concept of need for the ENP is based on aging and environmental factors which affect nutrition, health and independent living, hence, food insecurity does not totally specify what an elderly person needs (Lee, 2002). Frongillo, Valois and Wolfe (2003) conducted a study entitled Using a Concurrent Events Approach to Understand Social Support and Food Insecurity among Elders which assessed a concurrent events approach in its efficiency to comprehend the relationship between social support and food insecurity of elderly with low-income in the Upstate New York.
A concurrent events approach is a type of a time-intensive and event-focused approach that is capable of analyzing convoluted and forceful patterns for they are being utilized to various transitions (Frongillo, et al. , 2003). These approaches are advantageous when it comes to casual insinuations due to their thorough knowledge of incidence and timing of happenings. The approach is appropriate in the study of the elderly because of the dynamic components that affect their nutritional and health status.
A concurrent events approach in the said study is an approach which utilizes a group of food-insecure elderly in order to understand the complexity of the inconsistency and ambiguity of social support and events experienced with connection to food insecurity (Frongillo, et al. , 2003). The approach enabled the authors to comprehend and illustrate what and how various happenings occur on a week-to-week basis which affects elderly food insecurity (Frongillo, et al. , 2003).
However, the approach was not able to explain the inconsistency of social support and the weight of the stressful events to food insecurity. The authors recommended the efficiency of the approach in examining of an event or transition such as participation in home-delivered services, moving to a senior housing, etc. so that it can be used to determine the early effects of these occurrences (Frongillo, et al. , 2003).
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