Morley JE, Malmstrom TK, Miller DK

J Nutr Health Aging 2012;16:601-8

Publication date: August 1, 2012


The aim of this longitudinal study was to validate the 5-item FRAIL scale (fatigue, resistance, ambulation, illnesses, and loss of weight) in a representative sample of community-dwelling African Americans aged 49 to 65 years at inclusion.

Cross-sectionally the FRAIL scale correlated significantly with instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) difficulties, short physical performance battery (SPPB), grip strength and one-leg stand among participants with no baseline activities of daily living difficulties and those outcomes plus gait speed in those with no baseline ADL dependencies.

Longitudinally, and adjusted for the baseline value for each outcome, being pre-frail at baseline significantly predicted future ADL difficulties, worse one-leg stand scores and mortality. Being frail at baseline significantly predicted future ADL difficulties, IADL difficulties and mortality.

In conclusion, the simple 5-question FRAIL scale is an excellent screening test for clinicians to identify frail persons at risk of developing disability as well as decline in health functioning and mortality.


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