Assessing how much support a middle-aged or elderly person requires to sit and rise from the floor could be an indicator of all-cause mortality risk, researchers say.
Individuals who require support from more than one hand or knee to sit and rise from the floor in a stable way may have a twofold higher rate of mortality over 6 years, report Claudio de Araújo (Clinimex Rua Siqueira Campos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and co-authors.
As reported in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, they also found that even a 1-point increment in the score used to assess sitting-rising was related to a 21% reduction in mortality.
"If a middle-aged or older man or woman can sit and rise from the floor using just one hand - or even better without the help of a hand - they are not only in the higher quartile of musculo-skeletal fitness but their survival prognosis is probably better than that of those unable to do so," remarked Araújo in a press statement.
The study included 2002 adults aged 51-80 years who were asked to sit and then rise unaided from the floor. Before starting the test, each participant was told to sit and rise from the floor using the minimum support they needed without worrying about the speed of movement.
Each of the two movements were assessed and scored out of 5, with one point being subtracted from 5 for each support used (eg, hand or knee). Individuals were then ranked by their composite score on the scale of 0-10, according to the categories 0.0-3.0, 3.5-5.5, 6.0-7.5, and 8.0-10.0.
Over a median follow-up period of 6.3 years, 159 (7.9%) deaths occurred. A lower sitting-rising test (SRT) score was significantly associated with higher mortality.
Cox analysis adjusted for age, gender, and body mass index showed a 3-year shorter life expectancy among individuals with the lowest SRT score compared with those with the highest.
Proportional hazards analysis revealed that SRT score was a significant predictor for all-cause mortality, with individuals in the lowest score range having a 5-6 times greater risk for mortality than those in the reference group (SRT score of 8 or more).
The investigators suggest that a high SRT score may "reflect the capacity to successfully perform a wide range of activities of daily living, such as bending over to pick up a newspaper or a pair of glasses from under a table."
Araújo said: "It is well known that aerobic fitness is strongly related to survival, but our study also shows that maintaining high levels of body flexibility, muscle strength, power-to-body weight ratio and coordination are not only good for performing daily activities but have a favorable influence on life expectancy."
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