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J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2012 Nov;67(11):1197-204. doi: 10.1093/gerona/gls084. Epub 2012 Mar 28.

Contribution of frailty markers in explaining differences among individuals in five samples of older persons.

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  • 1Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Community studies, Solidage Research Group, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Canada.



There has been little research on the relative importance of frailty markers. The objective was to investigate the association among seven frailty domains (nutrition, physical activity, mobility, strength, energy, cognition, and mood) and their relative contribution in explaining differences among individuals in five samples of older persons.


Data from five studies of aging were analyzed using multiple correspondence analysis. Aggregation of frailty markers was evaluated using graphical output. Decomposition of variability was used to assess the relative contribution of each marker in each sample. Results were combined across the samples to assess the average contribution.


Frailty markers were found to consistently aggregate in each sample, suggesting a possible underlying construct. Physical strength had the highest contribution on average in explaining differences among individuals. Mobility and energy also had large contributions. Nutrition and cognition had the smallest contributions.


Our results provide further evidence supporting the notion that frailty domains may belong to a common construct. Physical strength may be the most important discriminating characteristic.

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