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Am J Public Health. 2001 January; 91(1): 68–75.
PMCID: PMC1446516

Financial difficulty in acquiring food among elderly disabled women: results from the Women's Health and Aging Study.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: This study described the prevalence and characteristics of financial difficulty acquiring food and its relation to nutritional biomarkers in older disabled women. METHODS: Baseline data were analyzed from the Women's Health and Aging Study, a population-based survey of 1002 community-dwelling, disabled women 65 years and older from Baltimore, Md. RESULTS: Minority women (49.5%) were more likely than White women (13.4%) to report financial difficulty acquiring food (odds ratio [OR] = 6.2, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 4.5, 8.6). Of the women reporting financial difficulty acquiring food, only 19.3% received food stamps and fewer than 7% participated in food assistance programs. Women reporting financial difficulty acquiring food had higher levels of psychologic depression than women not reporting such difficulty. Greater likelihood of financial difficulty acquiring food was associated with poorer quality of life and physical performance among White women and with more medical conditions among minority women. Finally, anemia (hemoglobin < 120 g/L) was associated with financial difficulty acquiring food (age-adjusted OR = 2.9, 95% CI = 1.9, 4.3). CONCLUSIONS: Financial difficulty acquiring food was common, and receipt of nutritional services was rare, in community-dwelling, older disabled women. Nutrition assistance programs for the elderly should reexamine their effectiveness in preventing nutritional deficits in older disabled women.

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Selected References

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