Measures of lower body function and risk of mortality over 7 years of follow-up

Glenn V. Ostir, Yong Fang Kuo, Ivonne M. Berges, Kyriakos S. Markides, Kenneth J. Ottenbacher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


The study examined whether a test of walking speed provides similar predictive information on mortality risk as does a summary measure of lower body function. Data were from the Hispanic Established Population for the Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly database and included Mexican Americans aged 65 years or more (1993-2000). Primary measures included a short physical performance battery, a test of walking speed, and mortality. The average age of the sample was 72.0 years, and 58.3 percent were women. The observed hazard ratio of mortality risk was similar for the full short physical performance battery and walking speed alone, in both unadjusted and adjusted baseline models. A time-dependent walking speed measure showed a more than twofold increased risk of mortality for individuals categorized with slower walking speed. The results also showed a linear association between continuous walking speed and mortality with and without adjustment for baseline covariates. This study provides evidence that walking speed alone can provide similar information on mortality risk as does a more comprehensive summary measure of physical performance. Because walking speed is a quick and easy-to-administer test, findings have implications for clinical use, especially among underserved minority groups where cultural and language barriers may exist.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)599-605
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2007


  • Aged
  • Health status indicators
  • Mexican Americans
  • Mortality
  • Walking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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