June 23, 2013

During the International Academy on Nutrition and Aging (IANA) meeting on Nutrition and Physical & Cognitive Frailty Including Sarcopenia, held in Seoul, Korea, on June 23, 2013, Tung Wai Auyeung from the Chinese University of Hong Kong presented an oral communication entitled, “Frailty survey and the selection of a screening test for frailty identification in community-dwelling older Chinese adults”.

The authors investigated the prevalence of frailty as well as the sensitivity and specificity of each one of the five Fried’s criteria in the identification of frailty in 4000 community-dwelling Chinese adults 65 years or older. Frailty was defined as the presence of 3 or more of Fried’s criteria. The adjusted overall prevalence of frailty in this population was 6.3% in men and 6.8% in women after age standardization. The prevalence of frailty and pre-frailty increased with age.

Among the 5 criteria, walking speed, grip strength and physical activity stood out and achieved similar area under the curve (AUC) in the receiver operating Characteristics (ROC) analysis. For walking speed, the sensitivity and specificity were 82.7% and 83.1% in men and 91.9% and 84.9% in women, respectively. For grip strength, the corresponding values were 87.5% and 84.1% in men; and 84.8% and 83.8% in women. For physical activity, they were 83.7% and 83.5% in men; and 82.8% and 84.7% in women.

The authors conclude that either walking speed or grip strength measurement may be suitable for frailty screening in primary care or population health surveys.