Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School

Health Sciences

First Advisor

Sarah Walsh, PhD

Second Advisor

Lynne Shetron-Rama, PhD

Third Advisor

Colleen Croxall, PhD


INTRODUCTION: As the population continues to age and healthcare costs steadily increase, identifying what factors possibly add to the risk of hospitalization will help find effective solutions targeting these issues. HYPOTHESIS: We hypothesized that Medicaid and Medicare dual eligibility, membership in a racial minority, and female gender would increase the risk of hospitalizations in the past year. We further hypothesized that receipt of food assistance would decrease the risk of hospitalization for older adults with diabetes. METHODS: For this study, we conducted a secondary analysis of data from the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHA TS) to test the relationship between our independent variables (Medicaid/Medicare dual eligibility, receipt of food assistance, race, and gender) and hospitalization. RESULTS: Our hypothesis was not supported. We did not find significance between Medicaid/Medicare dual eligibility, race, gender, and hospitalizations. There was a significant finding between food assistance receipt and hospitalizations. Of our sample population, those who receive food assistance were 43% less likely to be hospitalized. DISCUSSION/CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that there should be more invested into food assistance programs and policy created to make them accessible for everyone especially older adults with diabetes.