Skip to content

Good nutrition is the foundation of wellness

Alicia Colombo

By Najja R. Orr, MBA, DBA, PCA President & CEO

North Philadelphia resident Nellie Harris raised a family and cooked delicious meals from scratch. Now, 101, Ms. Harris has limited mobility and receives home-delivered meals from Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA).

When it comes to healthy aging, good nutrition is vital. The old saying is especially true: You are what you eat! The importance of maintaining a healthy, balanced diet as you age cannot be understated. Your diet can either positively or negatively impact your overall wellness and the management of chronic conditions, including diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Simply put, good nutrition is important to an older adult’s wellness, along with regular health care and medicine.

According to the National Council of Older Adults, 16% of older adults who live independently in the community are at high risk of malnutrition, a nutrient deficiency or imbalance that can lead to muscle weakness, illness, fatigue and depression.

Many factors contribute to hunger and malnutrition, including the lack of money to purchase healthy, fresh food; living in a “food desert,” an area with limited or no produce stands or grocery stores nearby; mobility issues; lack of access to transportation; loss of appetite; and trouble chewing or swallowing whole foods.

If you have trouble affording or accessing fresh, healthy food on a regular basis, there are community programs that can help. In the March 2024 issue of Milestones newspaper, we highlight information for eating healthy on a budget (see page 6) and PCA’s meals programs, which provide free, hot, nutritious meals daily to older Philadelphians (see page 5 and 14).

Additional food resources include:

  • Caring for Friends shares food and friendship with people who are homebound, homeless or hungry in greater Philadelphia – 215-464-2224 |
  • City of Philadelphia maintains a food and meal finder database | 311 |
  • Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger connects people with food assistance programs and nutrition education, provides resources to a network of food pantries – 215-430-0555 |
  • Philabundance is a nonprofit food bank with the mission to drive hunger from our communities today and end hunger for good – 215-339-0900 |
  • Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA) provides free meals to older adults through its congregate and home-delivered meals programs – 215-765-9040 |
  • Share Food Program is food co-op for communities in need of access to low-cost food in Philadelphia | 215-223-2220 |
Categories: Food Milestones eNews News about PCA


You are using an unsupported version of Internet Explorer. To ensure security, performance, and full functionality, please upgrade to an up-to-date browser.