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J Nutr Health Aging. 2014;18(2):199-203. doi: 10.1007/s12603-013-0365-4.

The selection of a screening test for frailty identification in community-dwelling older adults.

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Tung Wai Auyeung, The S. H. Ho Centre for Gerontology and Geriatrics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Department of Medicine and Geriatrics, Pok Oi Hospital, Au Tau, NT, Hong Kong, Email :, Telephone: 852 24868985, Fax: 852 24868976.



Frailty in older Chinese has been less often studied and the selection of one screening test feasible in primary care and population survey is needed. We attempted to examine the sensitivity and specificity of each of the five Fried's criteria as a single screening test in the identification of frailty.


We recruited 4000 community-dwelling Chinese adults 65 years or older stratified by 3 age-stratum and identified frailty as having 3 or more of Fried's criteria: underweight(BMI<18.5), handgrip strength(<lowest quintile), walking speed(<lowest quintile), self-reported exhaustion and low physical activity(PASE score<lowest quintile).


The proportion of frailty in the 3 age groups (65-69 years, 70-74 years, 75 years and above) were 2.3%, 3.4% and 11.9% respectively in men and 1.4%, 2.6% and 11.6% in women. Among the 5 criteria, walking speed, grip strength and physical activity (PASE score) divided at their respective lowest quintile values, achieved similar Area Under Curve in the Receiver Operating Characteristics analysis. For walking speed, the sensitivity and specificity were 82.7% and 83.1% in men and 91.9% and 84.5% in women respectively. For grip strength, the corresponding values were 89.5% and 80.6% in men; and 84.5% and 81.9% in women. For physical activity, they were 83.7% and 83.5% in men; and 82.8% and 84.7% in women.


Either walking speed or grip strength measurement may be suitable for frailty screening in primary care or population health survey. A cut-off value of 0.9 m/s in walking speed and 28 kg in grip strength for older men; and a corresponding value of 0.8 m/s and 18 kg for older women is recommended for the screening of frailty in community-dwelling older Chinese adults.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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