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Epidemiology Research International
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 696518, 8 pages
Research Article

Financial Strain Is Associated with Malnutrition Risk in Community-Dwelling Older Women

1School of Nursing, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
2Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
3Department of Health Policy and Management, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
4Department of Ophthalmology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA
5Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA

Received 25 February 2012; Revised 16 August 2012; Accepted 24 September 2012

Academic Editor: Chit Ming Wong

Copyright © 2012 Laura J. Samuel et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study examined the relationship between financial strain, or difficulty acquiring necessities, and malnutrition risk in a community dwelling sample of frail and nonfrail women aged 70–79 in the Women’s Health and Aging Study ( ). Malnutrition risk was measured with a modified version of the Mini-Nutritional Assessment Short Form (MNA-SF) and defined as a score <11, financial strain was measured by (1) sufficiency of money on a monthly basis and (2) adequacy of income for food, and income was measured by ordinal categories. Mean (SD) modified MNA-SF score was 12.2 (1.80), and 14.7% of women had malnutrition risk. Women who usually did not have enough money to make ends meet had more than four-fold increased odds of malnutrition risk ( ; 95% CI: 2.26, 9.14) compared to their counterparts who had some money left over each month. This was only slightly attenuated after control for income and education, ( ; 95% CI: 1.95, 8.52) remaining robust. These results show an association between financial strain and malnutrition risk, independent of income, in older women. Self-reported financial strain may be preferable to income as a screener for malnutrition risk in older adults in clinical and research settings.