Academy Applauds Passage and Signing of OAA

April 19, 2016

CHICAGO – The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, commends Congress and President Obama for passing and signing the Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2016.

"This legislation represents a bipartisan effort to provide services for seniors, such as nutrition programs, caregiver support and elder justice, among others," said registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy President Dr. Evelyn F. Crayton.

"The Academy looks forward to working on the implementation of the Older Americans Act to ensure that seniors are able to continue receiving these essential services," Crayton said.

The Older Americans Act is the primary legislation for delivering social and nutrition programs to older individuals. Its programs provide critical services, including healthy meals, to older adults who might otherwise be at risk of malnutrition.

Nutrition-related highlights of the bill include:

  • Direct utilization of registered dietitian nutritionists in nutrition programs.
  • Increased use of locally grown fresh foods in nutrition programs.
  • Separate funding for congregate and home-delivered meal programs.

"Malnutrition is common among seniors with an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 older adults dying each year as a result. Additionally, nearly 1 in 12 seniors living in the United States has limited or uncertain access to enough food," said registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy Spokesperson Lauri Wright.

"The Older Americans Act takes steps forward to improve access to healthy foods to sustain a healthy lifestyle. Programs such as Meals on Wheels are cost-effective methods for significantly improving the nutritional health and social well-being of seniors," Wright said.

"The Academy applauds bipartisan efforts in both the House and Senate on the Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2016 (S.192). We are particularly grateful for the work of Senators Bernie Sanders (Vt.), Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Patty Murray (Wash.) and Richard Burr (N.C.), and Representatives John Kline (Minn.), Bobby Scott (Va.), Suzanne Bonamici (Ore.) and Carlos Curbelo (Fla.) for leading the efforts," Crayton said.

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The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the Academy at eatright.org.