Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Provides Seniors with Tips for Saving
Money, Eating Healthy
Proper Nutrition Can Provide Energy, Help Stave off Chronic Conditions
MASON, Ohio -- March 15, 2013
While some seniors spend their retirement years fulfilling lifelong dreams,
others struggle just to get the nutrition they need.
Proper nutrition is critical as people age. According to the National
Institute on Aging, eating well can increase energy and may reduce the risk of
certain conditions, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, bone
loss, some kinds of cancer and anemia. Lack of nutrition, in contrast, can
cause an increased risk of infections, and lead to poor wound healing or falls
resulting from muscle weakness.
Yet, more than 5 million seniors — 11.4 percent of all seniors — experience
some form of food insecurity, meaning they lack access to essential
nutrition.^1 That number is expected to grow as Baby Boomers continue to age.
“We tend to lump all Baby Boomers all together, but they are actually a very
diverse group,” said Dr. Barry Malinowski, Medical Director for Anthem Blue
Cross and Blue Shield. “Like any other group, some are doing quite well, while
others could benefit from a helping hand.”
Lack of nutrition among seniors can be attributed to a number of factors,
including lack of money, education and mobility. Additionally, people find
that their tastes often change as they age, affecting their appetite. Others
have health issues that can lead to decreased appetite or trouble eating, such
as chronic illness, use of certain medications, difficulty swallowing or
absorbing nutrients, or trouble chewing due to dental issues.
Anthem, which serves thousands of seniors through its Medicare plans, provides
the following tips for eating properly while aging.
Planning meals. Write a grocery list and don’t forget it. Before going to the
store, shoppers should check their stock of staples, like flour, rice and
cereal, as well as canned and frozen foods, to make sure they don’t duplicate
purchases. When putting together the list, make sure to include a variety of
foods from each food group.
Stretching dollars. In 2010, 3.6 million people age 65 and older lived below
the poverty line.^2 Fortunately, there are ways for seniors to save on their
grocery bill, including using coupons, signing up for a store shopping card,
buying during sales and substituting generic or store brands for brand-name
goods. And check those expiration dates. It’s a good idea to freeze leftovers
to use them later. Throwing food away can be costly. Finally, when eating out,
don’t forget to ask for senior discounts.
Eating healthy. For some seniors, getting food isn’t as challenging as getting
the right food. A good start toward eating healthy is buying fresh fruits and
vegetables in season. Some people even grow their own vegetables, which saves
money and adds exercise. Other tips for healthy eating include eating whole
wheat or whole grain bread, pasta and cereal, trying low-fat cheese, yogurt or
cottage cheese, drinking skim or 2 percent milk, replacing white rice with
brown rice, and avoiding snacks and desserts. Some healthier snacks include
fresh fruits, animal crackers, vanilla wafers, gingersnaps, popcorn or
pretzels. When eating at restaurants, choose steamed, broiled, baked, grilled
or roasted foods. Don’t overeat and take the leftovers home.
Getting help. Medicare provides nutrition counseling to those with certain
chronic conditions. A Medicare Advantage (MA) plan may cover similar services
or even food delivery, under certain circumstances. Finally, there are
community programs designed to help people secure healthy food. Unfortunately,
these services are underutilized. Anthem’s parent company helps sponsor a
website that connects people with these programs. Visit
http://www.benefitscheckup.org/anthem to learn about these programs and check
This information is intended for educational purposes only and should not be
interpreted as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider for
advice about treatments that may affect your health.
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is a health plan with a Medicare contract.
About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name of Community Insurance
Company, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
^®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The
Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue
Cross and Blue Shield Association. Additional information aboutAnthem Blue
Crossand Blue Shield in Ohio is available at www.anthem.com. Also, follow us
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^1 Senior Hunger in the United States: Differences across States and Rural and
Urban Areas, 2009.
^2 DeNavas-Walt, Carmen, B.D. Proctor, J. Smith. U.S. Census Bureau. Income,
Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2010. September
Anthem Blue Crossand Blue Shield
Kim Ashley, (513) 445-0191
Doug Bennett Jr., (502) 889.2103
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