One-leg standing balance and functional status in a population of 512 community-living elderly persons
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The objective of this cross-sectional study (whose baseline data were drawn from a longitudinal population study) was to determine if oneleg standing balance might be a useful marker of functional status in elderly persons independently living in an urban community (N=512, mean age 73±7.0, 71.4% women). One-leg standing balance (ascertained by the Tinetti test) and functional status were obtained from a baseline gerontological assessment and follow-up questionnaires. Correlations were tested between one-leg balance and physical health and functional measurements. One-leg standing balance (OLSB) was abnormal in 24.7% of the population. At least one incapacity in instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) was found in 60.6% of those with OLSB abnormality, vs 45.5% in those with OLSB “adaptive” (borderline abnormal), and 33.3% in those with normal one-leg standing balance (p<0.0001). Multivariate analysis showed 3 independent factors related to one-leg balance abnormality: age >71 years (OR=5.11, CI=1.99–13.10); IADL deficit requiring help with transportation (OR= 3.61; CI= 1.15–11.40); and “poor” health status on the Iowa Self-Assessment Inventory (OR=2.67, CI=1.35–5.27). We conclude that one-leg standing balance may be a simple, predictive and inexpensive marker helpful in screening for low functional level and frailty in clinical practice.
Key wordsBalance tests elderly functional status
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