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Nearly 8% of Americans 60 and older were "food insecure" in 2017, according to a study by Feeding America. This translates to 5.5 million seniors — a number that has more than doubled since 2001, Time reports with Kaiser Health News.

The state of play: The number of hungry seniors has risen along with our awareness of the social determinants of health. While keeping people fed is important, it's also cheaper than caring for them down the line when they're sick — which is often what happens to people who don't have the food they need to live a healthy life.

Details: Hunger among seniors is the worst in the South and the Southwest, Time and KHN report. It's also worse among black and Latino seniors than among whites.

  • And while children's hunger can be addressed in schools, "the plight of hungry older Americans is shrouded by isolation and a generation’s pride," KHN's Laura Ungar and Trudy Lieberman write.

The outlook: As America gets grayer, the number of seniors receiving home-delivered meals through a federal program has dropped.

  • The program needs to be reauthorized by Congress this fall, but it's unclear whether its funding will get a substantial boost.

The bottom line: "Even if it rarely kills directly, hunger can complicate illness and kill slowly," Ungar and Lieberman write.

Go deeper: The looming crisis in long-term care

Go deeper

Biden picks up his pen to change the tone on racial equity

Vice President Harris looks on as President Biden signs executives orders related to his racial equity agenda. Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

President Biden is making a down payment on racial equity in a series of executive orders dealing with everything from private prisons to housing discrimination, treatment of Asian Americans and relations with indigenous tribes.

The big picture: Police reform and voting rights legislation will take time to pass in Congress. But with the stroke of his pen, one week into the job Biden is taking steps within his power as he seeks to change the tone on racial justice from former President Trump.

Most Senate Republicans join Rand Paul effort to dismiss Trump's 2nd impeachment trial

Photo: Joshua Roberts-Pool/Getty Images

Forty-five Senate Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, supported an effort to dismiss former President Trump's second impeachment trial.

Why it matters: The vote serves as a precursor to how senators will approach next month's impeachment trial, making it highly unlikely the Senate will vote to convict. The House impeached Trump for a second time for "incitement of insurrection" following events from Jan 6. when a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol.

Texas judge temporarily halts Biden's 100-day deportation freeze

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

A federal judge in Texas has temporarily blocked the Biden administration's 100-day freeze on deporting unauthorized immigrants.

Why it matters: Biden has set an ambitious immigration agenda, but he could face pushback from the courts.