Gait speed, grip strength and self-rated health among the elderly: data from the FIBRA Campinas network, São Paulo, Brazil

Joelita Pessoa de Oliveira Bez Anita Liberalesso Neri About the authors

The article seeks to investigate patterns of performance and relationships between grip strength, gait speed and self-rated health, and investigate the relationships between them, considering the variables of gender, age and family income. This was conducted in a probabilistic sample of community-dwelling elderly aged 65 and over, members of a population study on frailty. A total of 689 elderly people without cognitive deficit suggestive of dementia underwent tests of gait speed and grip strength. Comparisons between groups were based on low, medium and high speed and strength. Self-related health was assessed using a 5-point scale. The males and the younger elderly individuals scored significantly higher on grip strength and gait speed than the female and oldest did; the richest scored higher than the poorest on grip strength and gait speed; females and men aged over 80 had weaker grip strength and lower gait speed; slow gait speed and low income arose as risk factors for a worse health evaluation. Lower muscular strength affects the self-rated assessment of health because it results in a reduction in functional capacity, especially in the presence of poverty and a lack of compensatory factors.

Self-rated health; Muscular strength; Functional ability; Frailty; Old age

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