The impact of poverty transitions on frailty among older adults in South Korea: Findings from the Korean longitudinal study of ageing

Hin Moi Youn, Hyeon Ji Lee, Doo Woong Lee, Eun Cheol Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Frailty is an emerging public health concern among aging populations. Although socioeconomic status is a well-known contributor to frailty, there is limited research investigating the effects of poverty on frailty. This study aimed to examine the association between poverty transitions and frailty prevalence in older adults. Methods: Data were collected from the six-wave Korean Longitudinal Study of Ageing (2006-2016). A total of 9263 middle-aged and older adults were included in the analysis. Poverty was defined as being below 50% of the median household income based on the equivalized household. Frailty was measured using an instrument comprising items on physical phenotype (grip strength) and psychological (exhaustion) and social aspects (isolation). Analyses using generalized estimating equations were conducted to estimate the relationship between poverty transition and frailty status. Results: Among the 9263 respondents, 9.4% of the male respondents (n = 388) and 13.6% of the female respondents (n = 700) were frail. After controlling for covariates, female participants who transitioned into poverty (OR = 1.31, 95% CI: 1.02-1.69) and persistently remained in poverty (OR = 1.36, 95% CI: 1.10-1.68) showed increased odds of frailty in the follow-up year. We did not find significant results in the male participants. Conclusions: The findings suggest that those who experience poverty transitions, enter poverty, and remain in poverty persistently are at higher risk of frailty. To improve age-related health status among the elderly, interventions aiming to prevent and reduce frailty among the elderly should target individuals who are more vulnerable to the negative effects of frailty.

Original languageEnglish
Article number139
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Apr 15

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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