A1 Journal article – refereed

Educational Differences in Decline in Maximum Gait Speed in Older Adults over an 11-year Follow-up

List of Authors: Kyrönlahti Saila M, Stenholm Sari, Raitanen Jani, Neupane Subas, Koskinen Seppo, Tiainen Kristina

Publication year: 2021

Journal: Journals of Gerontology, Series A

Journal name in source: The journals of gerontology. Series A, Biological sciences and medical sciences

Journal acronym: J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci

Volume number: 76

Issue number: 4

ISSN: 1079-5006

eISSN: 1758-535X

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gerona/glaa196


Background: This study examined educational differences in decline in maximum gait speed over an 11-year follow-up in the general Finnish population aged ≥55 years, and assessed the contribution of lifestyle factors, body mass index, physical workload and chronic conditions on the association.

Methods: Data from the nationally representative Health 2000 Survey and it's 11-year follow-up was used. Participants aged 55 years and older with maximum gait speed measured at both time-points were included (n=1128). Information on education, age, sex, lifestyle factors, body mass index, physical workload and chronic conditions was collected at baseline. General linear model was used to examine differences in decline in maximum gait speed between education groups. Mediation analyses using the product method was conducted to partition the total effect of education on decline in maximum gait speed into direct effect and indirect effect acting through mediators.

Results: Decline in maximum gait speed was greater in low and intermediate education groups in comparison to the high education group [0.24 m/s, 95% confidence interval (0.21, 0.26), 0.24 m/s (0.21, 0.28), 0.10 m/s (0.07, 0.14), respectively]. The most important mediators were higher body mass index and lifetime exposure to physical workload among the less educated, accounting for 10% and 11% of the total effect, respectively.

Conclusions: Education-based disparities in objectively measured mobility increase with age as lower education is associated with greater decline in gait speed. Higher body mass index and physical workload among less educated contributed most to the educational disparities in age-related decline in maximum gait speed.

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Last updated on 2021-10-09 at 14:46