Objectives: Hyperinflation began in early 1992 in the former Soviet Union. This paper describes factors associated with nutritional status that year among elderly pensioners.
Methods: Approximately 300 pensioners were selected randomly in each of eight cities. Surveys of diet, weight, health status, and social and economic conditions were done between June and December 1992. This paper reports on 2281 completed questionnaires.
Results: Half the pensioners reported that they had lost 5 or more kilograms in the prior 6 months; 57% did not have enough money to buy food, and 39% needed medicines they could not afford. Forty percent consumed less than a half kilogram of meat, 50% consumed less than a half kilogram of fruit, a third consumed less than a liter of milk, and a third consumed less than 2 kg of bread per week. Weight loss was strongly associated with not having enough money to buy food, and inability to afford medication, and consumption of fewer than three meals a day. Concurrent with these conditions, there was a large increase in mortality in Russia.
Conclusions: The results of these surveys suggest that many elderly pensioners were experiencing severe nutritional deprivation in the latter half of 1992.