Ebony Weems, Ph.D.

M.S. Biomedical Data Science

Exploring Health Disparities Among Older Americans (65+) Residing in Food Deserts: A Multifaceted Analysis

The Administration on Aging reports that 1 in 6 people living in the United States is 65 years old or older. This represents 55.7 million people with a 38 percent increase in this population since 2010. The older adult population represents a vulnerable population due to age-related health concerns and potential limitations in mobility, income, and access to resources. Understanding and addressing health disparities among older Americans is crucial to ensuring their well-being and quality of life. This research study will examine the relationship between food insecurity and health outcomes among older adults in food deserts, including the prevalence of chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. A comprehensive content analysis and quantitative analysis will be done to examine the impact of food access on health outcomes, explore socioeconomic factors, and propose interventions. Both the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2017-2018 will be used to analyze data on various health indicators, dietary habits, and nutritional status in older adults. The Food Access Research Atlas (FARA) will also be used to map food access and proximity to grocery stores, farmer’s markets, and other food retail outlets. Results from this research will contribute to the existing knowledge, raise awareness, inform policymakers, and provide insights to improve the health outcomes of older Americans residing in food deserts.