Modifiable Risk Factors for New-Onset Slow Gait in Older Adults

TitleModifiable Risk Factors for New-Onset Slow Gait in Older Adults
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsVerghese, J, Wang, C, Allali, G, Holtzer, R, Ayers, E
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
KeywordsHealth Conditions and Status, Healthcare

AbstractObjective Despite the growing importance of slow gait as a universal screen of health, systematic investigation of risk factors for incident slow gait is lacking. Our objective was to identify potentially modifiable risk factors for incident slow gait. Design Prospective cohort study. Setting The Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative US sample. Participants A total of 2306 individuals age 65 and older (56.5 women) from the 2008 wave with timed walks at baseline and 4 years later. Measurements Incident slow gait (walking speed 1 SD below age and sex means) was the outcome. Fifteen potentially modifiable medical and lifestyle risk factors were examined as predictors. Results Incident slow gait developed in 243 participants (11 ) at 4 years. Physical inactivity (adjusted relative risk aRR 1.94), cognitive impairment (aRR 1.77), muscle weakness (aRR 1.48), pain (aRR 1.45), obesity (aRR 1.35), vision (aRR 1.36), and falls (aRR 1.32) predicted increased risk of developing incident slow gait. Together, these risk factors accounted for 77 (95 confidence interval 14 95) of the Population Attributable Risk for incident slow gait. Conclusion A limited set of potentially modifiable risk factors is associated with new-onset slow gait in older adults. These findings provide a foundation for developing clinical guidelines and preventive interventions for slow gait.

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