Objective measures of physical capability and subsequent health: a systematic review

Cooper, R., Kuh, D., Cooper, C., Gale, C. R., Lawlor, D. A., Matthews, F., Hardy, R. and FALCon and HALCyon, S. T. (2010) Objective measures of physical capability and subsequent health: a systematic review. Age and Ageing, 40(1), pp. 14-23. (doi: 10.1093/ageing/afq117)

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Background: measures of physical capability may be predictive of subsequent health, but existing published studies have not been systematically reviewed. We hypothesised that weaker grip strength, slower walking speed and chair rising and shorter standing balance time, in community-dwelling populations, would be associated with higher subsequent risk of fracture, cognitive outcomes, cardiovascular disease, hospitalisation and institutionalisation. Methods: studies were identified through systematic searches of the electronic databases MEDLINE and EMBASE (to May 2009). Reference lists of eligible papers were also manually searched. Results: twenty-four papers had examined the associations between at least one physical capability measure and one of the outcomes. As the physical capability measures and outcomes had been assessed and categorised in different ways in different studies, and there were differences in the potential confounding factors taken into account, this made it impossible to pool results. There were more studies examining fractures than other outcomes, and grip strength and walking speed were the most commonly examined capability measures. Most studies found that weaker grip strength and slower walking speed were associated with increased risk of future fractures and cognitive decline, but residual confounding may explain results in some studies. Associations between physical capability levels and the other specified outcomes have not been tested widely. Conclusions: there is some evidence to suggest that objective measures of physical capability may be predictors of subsequent health in older community-dwelling populations. Most hypothesised associations have not been studied sufficiently to draw definitive conclusions suggesting the need for further research.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Glasgow staff member P.G. Shiels is part of the FALCon and HALCyon study teams. In addition to the named authors, the FALCon study team includes Avan Aihie Sayer, Eleni Bakra, Michaela Benzeval, Graciela Muniz Terrera and Andrew Wills and the HALCyon study team includes Yoav Ben-Shlomo, Leone Craig, Ian Day, Richard Martin, Kate Tilling, Tamuno Alfred, Mike Gardner, John Gallacher, Ian Deary, John Starr, Paul Shiels, Thomas von Zglinicki, Humphrey Southall, Paula Aucott, Jane Elliott, Chris Power, Geraldine McNeill, Avan Aihie Sayer, Alison Lennox, Marcus Richards, Gita Mishra, Zeinab Mulla and James Goodwin.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Shiels, Professor Paul
Authors: Cooper, R., Kuh, D., Cooper, C., Gale, C. R., Lawlor, D. A., Matthews, F., Hardy, R., and FALCon and HALCyon, S. T.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences
Journal Name:Age and Ageing
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN (Online):1468-2834
Published Online:15 September 2010

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