Food Security of Seniors in South Bend

Food Security

Christian Cullinan

 

Food access is fundamental to creating a sustainable, healthy community, and yet it is often overlooked. Secure access to sufficiently nutritious food has the potential to help alleviate the nationwide problem of obesity, hunger, and a host of other health issues, providing a greater level of community well-being. Co-benefits also include proactively saving costs to the healthcare system and reducing emissions from transportation associated with the moving and buying of food.

 

Among the populations most vulnerable to a lack of food security are seniors, who also stand to gain the most from community food environment interventions. Proper distribution of food store types in neighborhoods with seniors and low-income residents is especially important to creating an equitable and socially sustainable food environment. In South Bend, IN, disparities have been found between different neighborhoods’ food security, but the conditions for seniors have yet to be examined closely.

 

The ability to connect local, healthy food vendors with aging consumers contributes enormously to the food security of an area, so mapping the distributions of food sources and seniors can provide a critical tool for targeting food insecurity for this demographic. This data will then provide a guide for where, how, and to what degree to apply interventions into the food environment based on case studies of successful examples of education programs, community gardens, and other initiatives.