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Exploring effective items of physical function in slow walking speed and self-reported mobility limitation in community-dwelling older adults

Mi-Ji Kim, Noriko Yabushita, Kiyoji Tanaka
Geriatrics & Gerontology International 2012, 12 (1): 50-8
21729226

AIM: To examine gender differences in regards to the disagreement between walking speed and self-reported mobility limitations, and, furthermore, to explore the items that affect each physical function task by comparing slow walking speed and self-reported mobility limitation in community-dwelling older adults.

METHODS: The subjects consisted of 1381 community-dwelling men and women aged 65-84 years who were classified into four categories according to a combination of mobility status measured by a slow walking speed (usual gait speed < 1.0 m/s) and self-reported mobility limitation (difficulty walking 1 km). The physical function tests comprised one-legged stance, tandem stance, functional reach, tandem walk, alternate step and five chair sit-to-stand.

RESULTS: The prevalence of limitations increased more rapidly with age in women than in men for five mobility tasks (P < 0.001). The percent difference between slow walking speed and self-reported mobility limitation was higher in women (24%) than men (19%). The multivariate logistic regression model showed that after adjusting for all covariates, the tandem walk, alternate step and five chair sit-to-stand were identified as effective physical function tests in regards to mobility status as measured by the difference between slow walking speed and self-reported mobility limitation (P < 0.01).

CONCLUSION: Tandem walk, alternate step and five chair sit-to-stand are important effective items of physical function and permit good comparisons between slow walking speed and self-reported mobility limitation in community-dwelling older adults.

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