The Influence of Lifestyle Behaviors on the Incidence of Frailty

M. G. Borda, M. U. Pérez-Zepeda, R. Samper-Ternent, R. C. Gómez, J. A. Avila-Funes, C. A. Cano-Gutierrez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Frailty is a clinical state defined as an increase in an individual’s vulnerability to developing adverse health-related outcomes. Objectives: We propose that healthy behaviors could lower the incidence of frailty. The aim is to describe the association between healthy behaviors (physical activity, vaccination, tobacco use, and cancer screening) and the incidence of frailty. Design: This is a secondary longitudinal analysis of the Mexican Health and Aging Study (MHAS) cohort. Setting: MHAS is a population-based cohort, of community-dwelling Mexican older adults. With five assessments currently available, for purposes of this work, 2012 and 2015 waves were used. Participants: A total of 6,087 individuals 50-year or older were included. Measurements: Frailty was defined using a 39-item frailty index. Healthy behaviors were assessed with questions available in MHAS. Individuals without frailty in 2012 were followed-up three years in order to determine their frailty incidence, and its association with healthy behaviors. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to assess the odds of frailty occurring according to the four health-related behaviors mentioned above. Results: At baseline (2012), 55.2% of the subjects were male, the mean age was 62.2 (SD ± 8.5) years old. The overall incidence (2015) of frailty was 37.8%. Older adults physically active had a lower incidence of frailty (48.9% vs. 42.2%, p< 0.0001). Of the activities assessed in the adjusted multivariate models, physical activity was the only variable that was independently associated with a lower risk of frailty (odds ratio: 0.79, 95% confidence interval 0.71–0.88, p< 0.001). Conclusions: Physically active older adults had a lower 3-year incidence of frailty even after adjusting for confounding variables. Increasing physical activity could therefore represent a strategy for reducing the incidence of frailty. Other so-called healthy behaviors were not associated with incident frailty, however there is still uncertainty on the interpretation of those results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-149
Number of pages6
JournalThe Journal of frailty & aging
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2020


  • Frailty
  • age
  • epidemiology of aging
  • healthy aging
  • healthy lifestyle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'The Influence of Lifestyle Behaviors on the Incidence of Frailty'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this