Prevalence and Trends of Slow Gait Speed in the United States.

TitlePrevalence and Trends of Slow Gait Speed in the United States.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsStover, E, Andrew, S, Batesole, J, Berntson, M, Carling, C, FitzSimmons, S, Hoang, T, Nauer, J, McGrath, R
JournalGeriatrics (Basel, Switzerland)
ISSN Number2308-3417
KeywordsGeriatrics, Physical Functional Performance, Population Surveillance, Walking

Gait speed is a simple, effective indicator of age-related disease and disability. We sought to examine the prevalence and trends of slow gait speed in older Americans. Our unweighted analytic sample included 12,427 adults aged ≥ 65 years from the 2006-2016 waves of the Health and Retirement Study. Gait speed was measured in participant residences. Persons with gait speed < 0.8 or <0.6 m/s were slow. Sample weights were used to generate nationally representative estimates. The overall estimated prevalence of slow gait speed with the <0.8 m/s cut-point was 48.6% (95% confidence interval (CI): 47.4-49.8) in the 2006-2008 waves yet was 45.7% (CI: 44.3-47.1) in the 2014-2016 waves, but this downward trend was not statistically significant ( = 0.06). The estimated prevalence of slowness with the <0.6 m/s cut-point was 21.3% (CI: 20.4-22.3) for the 2006-2008 waves, 18.5% (CI: 17.5-19.4) for the 2010-2012 waves, and 19.2% (CI: 18.2-20.2) for the 2014-2016 waves, but there were again no significant trends ( = 0.61). Our findings showed that the estimated prevalence of slow gait speed in older Americans is pronounced, and different cut-points largely inform how slowness is categorized. Continued surveillance of slowness over time will help guide screening for disablement and identify sub-populations at greatest risk for targeted interventions.

Citation Key13606
PubMed ID37887968
PubMed Central IDPMC10605995
Grant ListR15AG072348 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States