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Aging Clin Exp Res. 2006 Apr;18(2):100-6.

Concordance and discordance between two measures of lower extremity function: 400 meter self-paced walk and SPPB.

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  • 1Human Physiology Laboratory, Department of Health Sciences, Sargent College of Rehabilitation Sciences, Boston University, USA.



The purpose of the study was to assess the concurrent validity of the 400 meter self-paced walk test (400-m W) against the commonly used short physical performance battery (SPPB). A secondary purpose was to determine whether the 400-m W could better discriminate physical performance among high functioning older adults by examining the distribution of 400-m W scores.


101 men and women (80.8+/-0.4 years) were recruited to participate in the study. The 400-mW and SPPB assessed lower extremity function. Lower extremity muscle strength, power, and contraction velocity was assessed using bilateral leg press (LP). Health history was obtained with questionnaire.


400-m W demonstrated moderate correlations with SPPB (Pearson r=0.74; p< 0.001). In 36 high functioning individuals (SPPB score= 10, 11, 12), participants above the median 400-m W performance time (n=20) had more medical conditions (2.8+/-0.4 vs 1.7+/-0.3; p=0.038), more reported falls (0.80+/-0.2 vs 0.19+/-0.1; p=0.016), more medications (3.7+/-0.4 vs 1.8+/-0.4; p=0.001), had lower LP power at 70% of the one repetition maximum (1RM) (336+/-45 W vs 663+/-78 W; p=0.001) and 40% 1RM (329+/-43 W vs 580+/-75 W; p=0.005), and had slower LP contraction velocity at 40% 1RM (77+/-5.5 m/s vs 112+/-8.4 m/s; p=0.001) compared with those below the median (n=16).


A substantial number of apparently well functioning older adults demonstrated some limitations in the ability to walk 400 meters. Use of the 400-m W may be justified to obtain information to better discriminate among high functioning elderly.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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