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The prevalence of frailty syndrome in an older population from Spain. The Toledo study for healthy aging

  • The Prevalence of Frailty Syndrome in an Older Population from Spain
  • Published:
The journal of nutrition, health & aging



To assess the prevalence of the frailty syndrome and its associated variables among the older adult population in the province of Toledo (Spain).


Data were taken from the Toledo Study for Healthy Aging, a population-based study conducted on 2,488 individuals aged 65 years and older. Study participants were selected by a two-stage random sampling from the municipal census of Toledo, covering both institutionalized and community dwelling persons from rural and urban settings. Data were collected from 2006 to 2009, and included information on social support, activities of daily living, comorbidity, physical activity, quality of life, depressive symptoms, and cognitive function. In addition, a nurse collected anthropometric data, conducted tests of physical performance (walk speed, upper and lower extremities strength, and the stand-and-sit from a chair test) and obtained a blood sample. The diagnosis of the frailty syndrome was based on the Fried criteria (weakness, low speed, low physical activity, exhaustion, and weight loss).


In total, 41.8% (95% confidence interval [CI] 39.4–44.2%) of the study participants were prefrail, and 8.4% (95% CI 7.1–9.8%) were frail. There were no differences in the prevalence of frailty by sex, level of education, occupation, marital status, or place of residence. The frequency of the frailty syndrome increased with age, and was higher in those with disability, depression, hip fracture and other comorbidity, such as cardiovascular disease and disorders of the central nervous system.


The prevalence of the frailty syndrome in older Spanish adults is high and similar to that reported in other populations in the Mediterranean basin.

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Correspondence to Francisco José Garcia-Garcia or Ana Alfaro-Acha.

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For the Toledo Study Group

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Garcia-Garcia, F.J., Gutierrez Avila, G., Alfaro-Acha, A. et al. The prevalence of frailty syndrome in an older population from Spain. The Toledo study for healthy aging. J Nutr Health Aging 15, 852–856 (2011).

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