Frailty in older Mexican Americans

Kenneth J. Ottenbacher, Glenn V. Ostir, M. Kristen Peek, Soham Al Snih, Mukaila A. Raji, Kyriakos S. Markides

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: To identify sociodemographic characteristics and health performance variables associated with frailty in older Mexican Americans. DESIGN: A prospective population-based survey. SETTING: Homes of older adults living in the southwest. PARTICIPANTS: Six hundred twenty-one noninstitutionalized Mexican-American men and women aged 70 and older included in the Hispanic Established Populations for Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly participated in a homebased interview. MEASUREMENTS: Interviews included information on sociodemographics, self-reports of medical conditions (arthritis, diabetes mellitus, heart attack, hip fracture, cancer, and stroke) and functional status. Weight and measures of lower and upper extremity muscle strength were obtained along with information on activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living. A summary measure of frailty was created based on weight loss, exhaustion, grip strength, and walking speed. Multivariable linear regression identified variables associated with frailty at baseline. Logistic regression examined variables predicting frailty at 1-year follow-up. RESULTS: Sex was associated with frailty at baseline (F = 4.28, P =.03). Predictors of frailty in men included upper extremity strength, disability (activities of daily living), comorbidities, and mental status scores (Nagelkerke coefficient of determination (R2) = 0.37). Predictors for women included lower extremity strength, disability (activities of daily living), and body mass index (Nagelkerke R2 = 0.29). At 1-year follow-up, 83% of men and 79% of women were correctly classified as frail. CONCLUSION: Different variables were identified as statistically significant predictors of frailty in Mexican-American men and women aged 70 and older. The prevention, development, and treatment of frailty in older Mexican Americans may require consideration of the unique characteristics of this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1524-1531
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2005


  • Frailty
  • Health surveys
  • Mexican Americans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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