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Senior Hunger and the Older Americans Act

In invited testimony before the Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions on June 21, Mary Jane Koren, M.D., M.P.H., vice president for the Picker/Commonwealth Fund Long-Term Quality Improvement Program, made several federal-level recommendations for strengthening the nutritional programs that help frail older adults maintain their independence and well-being.

Koren also discussed why hunger is so common in this population, what the consequences are for patients and for rising health care expenditures, and how home-delivered and congregate meals can help low-income seniors, their families, and health care providers, especially in a time of constrained resources.

"The importance of these programs transcends food," Koren said. "They give people not only something to eat, they give them a reason to eat."

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