Older Americans Act


  • First Signed Into Law: July 1965
  • Latest Action: Reauthorized (S. 192 — 114th Congress) on April 20, 2016 (view the full legislation)

Key Points

  • OAA programs provide critical services, including healthy meals, to older adults who might otherwise be at risk of malnutrition. About 11 million (one in five) older adults are served annually by OAA programs.
  • A varied, healthy diet that takes into account the particular nutritional needs of older Americans keeps older adults healthy and independent.
  • Nutrition therapy and interventions are cost-effective:
    • The cost of one day in a hospital is roughly the same cost as providing a patient with one year of meals through OAA nutrition programs.
    • The cost of one month in a nursing home is the same cost as providing an OAA nutrition client with mid-day meals, five days per week, for seven years.
  • As primary prevention and health promotion, medical nutrition therapy delivered by registered dietitian nutritionists as part of OAA nutrition programs lessens chronic disease risk and addresses nutrition problems that can lead to more serious and costly conditions and adverse effects.

Download the Academy’s Older American’s Act issue brief for more additional information about the legislation.