Physical capability levels are associated with survival

Physical capability levels are associated with survival

 

Physical capability, a term used to describe an individual’s ability to undertake the physical tasks of everyday living, can be assessed using tests such as grip strength, walking speed, chair rising and standing balance.  There is growing evidence that these simple measures of physical capability may be useful markers of future as well as current health.

 

Researchers at the MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing, in collaboration with scientists around the world, have undertaken a systematic review of the literature and meta-analysis of published and unpublished results to assess whether grip strength, walking speed, chair rise time and standing balance performance are associated with all-cause mortality in adult populations living in the community.

 

The review found consistent evidence that all four measures of physical capability were associated with mortality; those people who performed less well in the tests, i.e. had weaker grip strength, slower walking speed or poorer chair rising or standing balance performance, were found to have lower survival rates.  While relevant studies of walking speed, chair rising and standing balance have only been conducted in older adults, the association of grip strength with mortality was also found in younger adults. This review thus provides comprehensive evidence that objective measures of physical capability are predictors of all-cause mortality in older community-dwelling populations and suggests that such measures may provide useful tools for identifying older people at higher risk of mortality. 

 

[Based on “Objectively measured physical capability levels and mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis” by Rachel Cooper, Diana Kuh, Rebecca Hardy and the Mortality Review Group on behalf of the FALCon and HALCyon study teams in the British Medical Journal  http://www.bmj.com/cgi/doi/10.1136/bmj.c4467

 

 http://www.mrc.ac.uk/Newspublications/News/MRC007212