225530 Cognitive status and walking speed, balance and falls among older adults

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 : 9:00 AM - 9:15 AM

Thomas Prohaska, PhD , Community Health Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Amy Eisenstein, MS , School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Renae Smith-Ray, MS , Institute for Health Research and Policy (MC 275), University of Illinois Chicago, Chicago, IL
William Satariano, PhD , School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Introduction: Cognitive status is associated with the loss of functional abilities including walking speed in older adults. The current study examines the association between cognition and balance, falls, and walking speed. Methods: As part of the Healthy Aging Network, a survey of neighborhood and environmental characteristics associated with walking behaviors was administered at multiple sites across the US. Multivariate analyses were conducted to examine the association between two cognitive measures (Mini-Mental Status Exam (MMSE) and the Mental Alternation Test (MAT)) and functional abilities (balance variables, walking speed, and falls) controlling for demographic and health factors. Results: Eight-hundred eighty four community dwelling adults age 65 years and older completed the survey. Three measures of balance and walking velocity (feet per second) were significantly associated with both the MMSE and the MAT at the bivariate level. There was a significant negative association between number of falls in the last 6 months and MAT scores with greater falls being associated with greater cognitive impairment. Controlling for age, gender, BMI, and self-rated health, linear regression models revealed that the association between balance measures and walking speed with cognitive measures remained significant (p<.001). Conclusion: Cognitive performance was a strong predictor of balance, walking speed and falls in older adults after accounting for demographic and health variables.

Learning Areas:
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Participants will be able to 1. determine the association between cognitive status and walking speed, types of balance,history of falls an among older adult 2. identify which of two cognitive measures best demonstrate the association between cognitive status and walking and gait measures .

Keywords: Aging, Physical Activity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a professor of Publc health and Aging and have a PhD in the content area.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.