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Nutrition and Healthy Weight

There are several programs that help low-income seniors and adults with disabilities pay for nutritious foods.


Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

As of October 1, 2008, the federal Food Stamp program is now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The program may be known under different names in some states. SNAP provides benefits to qualified enrollees through electronic cards that enable them to buy nutritious food at participating stores. To find out more, visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website at http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap or go to our detailed SNAP page.

Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP)

SFMNP is a federally funded program that awards grants to states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, and federally recognized Indian tribes. The grants are used to give low-income seniors coupons that can be used to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and honey from farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and community supported agriculture programs. To learn more, and to find out if SFMNP benefits are provided in your state, visit http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/SeniorFMNP/SeniorFMNPoverview.htm.


The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)

TEFAP is a federal program that provides nutritious food to low-income individuals at no cost. The U.S. Department of Agriculture buys food and then ships it to the states. States distribute the food to local organizations, usually food banks, which distribute the food to soup kitchens and food pantries. Eligibility criteria differ among the states. For more information, visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website at http://www.fns.usda.gov/fdd/programs/tefap.

Under the Older Americans Act (OAA), the Older Americans Nutrition Program (OANP) is the largest and most visible, federally funded community-based nutrition program for older adults. The Nutrition Program is administered by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging

(AoA) who provides leadership, coordination and support to an Aging Network that includes 57 State Units on Aging (SUAs), 655 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and thousands of local providers under Title III. The AoA provides Title III-C funds to SUAs to provide congregate and home-delivered meals, nutrition screening, education and counseling, as well as an array of other supportive and health services.

To carry out the responsibilities mandated by the OAA, SUAs are responding to the demographic changes in the U.S. population of older adults. The proportion of older adults is expected to double to about 70 million by the year 2030, reflecting an increase from 12.4% today to 20% (1). The year 2030 represents the demographic milestone when many Baby Boomers will attain the ranks of the “oldest old” (age 85 and older) and large numbers of GenXers will themselves reach age 65 (1). All may be eligible for or in need of nutrition services. Furthermore, food insecurity, chronic diseases, and functional disabilities are common to many older adults. At the same time, changes in the health care system and public policy have resulted in earlier discharge of ill older adults from hospitals to home and community-based care. As a result, nutrition service providers need to expand and enhance the delivery of food and nutrition services to meet the increased demand for their services.


Older Americans Act Nutrition Programs Toolkit


Comparison of the American Dietetic Association (ADA) Nutrition Care Process for

Nutrition Education Services and the ADA Nutrition Care Process for Medical

Nutrition Therapy (MNT) Services



SOURCE National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs National Association of Nutrition
and Aging Services d Aging Services Programs

The Food and Nutrition Information Center – a leader in food and human nutrition information dissemination since 1971 – provides credible, accurate, and practical resources for nutrition and health professionals, educators, government personnel and consumers.

Older Adults General Nutrition Resource List – May 2010

This publication is a collection of general nutrition resources for older adults divided into three sections. The first section includes resources for consumers, while the second section includes resources for professionals. Resources are comprised of Web sites, pamphlets and books. Learn more.


Food and Nutrition Resource Guide for Homeless Shelters, Soup Kitchens, and Food Banks – May 2009

This publication contains food and nutrition educational materials for staff and volunteers working in homeless shelters, soup kitchens, food banks, and other related facilities, as well as materials that can be used by clients. Learn More.