Physical capability 'predicts death risk'

People who are better at simple physical tasks are likely to live longer, research suggests.

A UK study found that measures of physical capability, such as standing balance ability, grip strength and walking speed, can predict mortality in older people.

Data from 33 studies involving measures of physical capability were studied by researchers from UCL.

The researchers found consistent evidence that people who performed less well in these tests had a consistently higher risk of death.

For instance, five studies of walking speed covering 14,692 participants found the death rate was 2.87 times greater in those who walk slowest compared with those who walk fastest.

They conclude: ‘Objective measures of physical capability are predictors of all cause mortality in older community dwelling populations. Such measures may therefore provide useful tools for identifying older people at higher risk of death.’

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