• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of amjphAmerican Journal of Public Health Web SiteAmerican Public Health Association Web SiteSubmissionsSubscriptionsAbout Us
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.


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.

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (137K).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Rose D, Oliveira V. Nutrient intakes of individuals from food-insufficient households in the United States. Am J Public Health. 1997 Dec;87(12):1956–1961. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Ryan VC, Bower ME. Relationship of socioeconomic status and living arrangements to nutritional intake of the older person. J Am Diet Assoc. 1989 Dec;89(12):1805–1807. [PubMed]
  • Ensrud KE, Duong T, Cauley JA, Heaney RP, Wolf RL, Harris E, Cummings SR. Low fractional calcium absorption increases the risk for hip fracture in women with low calcium intake. Study of Osteoporotic Fractures Research Group. Ann Intern Med. 2000 Mar 7;132(5):345–353. [PubMed]
  • Corti MC, Guralnik JM, Salive ME, Sorkin JD. Serum albumin level and physical disability as predictors of mortality in older persons. JAMA. 1994 Oct 5;272(13):1036–1042. [PubMed]
  • Weijenberg MP, Feskens EJ, Souverijn JH, Kromhout D. Serum albumin, coronary heart disease risk, and mortality in an elderly cohort. Epidemiology. 1997 Jan;8(1):87–92. [PubMed]
  • Corti MC, Guralnik JM, Salive ME, Ferrucci L, Pahor M, Wallace RB, Hennekens CH. Serum iron level, coronary artery disease, and all-cause mortality in older men and women. Am J Cardiol. 1997 Jan 15;79(2):120–127. [PubMed]
  • Jacobs D, Blackburn H, Higgins M, Reed D, Iso H, McMillan G, Neaton J, Nelson J, Potter J, Rifkind B, et al. Report of the Conference on Low Blood Cholesterol: Mortality Associations. Circulation. 1992 Sep;86(3):1046–1060. [PubMed]
  • Fried LP, Ettinger WH, Lind B, Newman AB, Gardin J. Physical disability in older adults: a physiological approach. Cardiovascular Health Study Research Group. J Clin Epidemiol. 1994 Jul;47(7):747–760. [PubMed]
  • Folstein MF, Folstein SE, McHugh PR. "Mini-mental state". A practical method for grading the cognitive state of patients for the clinician. J Psychiatr Res. 1975 Nov;12(3):189–198. [PubMed]
  • Patrick DL, Danis M, Southerland LI, Hong G. Quality of life following intensive care. J Gen Intern Med. 1988 May-Jun;3(3):218–223. [PubMed]
  • Yesavage JA, Brink TL, Rose TL, Lum O, Huang V, Adey M, Leirer VO. Development and validation of a geriatric depression screening scale: a preliminary report. J Psychiatr Res. 1982;17(1):37–49. [PubMed]
  • Derogatis LR, Lipman RS, Rickels K, Uhlenhuth EH, Covi L. The Hopkins Symptom Checklist (HSCL): a self-report symptom inventory. Behav Sci. 1974 Jan;19(1):1–15. [PubMed]
  • Frongillo EA, Jr, Rauschenbach BS, Olson CM, Kendall A, Colmenares AG. Questionnaire-based measures are valid for the identification of rural households with hunger and food insecurity. J Nutr. 1997 May;127(5):699–705. [PubMed]
  • Campbell CC. Food insecurity: a nutritional outcome or a predictor variable? J Nutr. 1991 Mar;121(3):408–415. [PubMed]
  • Alaimo K, Briefel RR, Frongillo EA, Jr, Olson CM. Food insufficiency exists in the United States: results from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III). Am J Public Health. 1998 Mar;88(3):419–426. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Miller DK, Carter ME, Sigmund RH, Smith JQ, Miller JP, Bentley JA, McDonald K, Coe RM, Morley JE. Nutritional risk in inner-city-dwelling older black Americans. J Am Geriatr Soc. 1996 Aug;44(8):959–962. [PubMed]
  • Frongillo EA, Jr, Rauschenbach BS, Roe DA, Williamson DF. Characteristics related to elderly persons' not eating for 1 or more days: implications for meal programs. Am J Public Health. 1992 Apr;82(4):600–602. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Harel Z. Nutrition site service users: does racial background make a difference? Gerontologist. 1985 Jun;25(3):286–291. [PubMed]
  • Balsam AL, Rogers BL. Serving elders in greatest social and economic need: the challenge to the Elderly Nutrition Program. J Aging Soc Policy. 1991;3(1-2):41–55. [PubMed]
  • Kumanyika SK, Morssink C, Agurs T. Models for dietary and weight change in African-American women: identifying cultural components. Ethn Dis. 1992 Spring;2(2):166–175. [PubMed]
  • Wolfe WS, Olson CM, Kendall A, Frongillo EA., Jr Hunger and food insecurity in the elderly: its nature and measurement. J Aging Health. 1998 Aug;10(3):327–350. [PubMed]

Articles from American Journal of Public Health are provided here courtesy of American Public Health Association


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


  • MedGen
    Related information in MedGen
  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...