Sex Modifies the Relationship between Age and Gait: A Population-Based Study of Older Adults
Callisaya, M and Blizzard, CL and Schmidt, MD and McGinley, J and Srikanth, V, Sex Modifies the Relationship between Age and Gait: A Population-Based Study of Older Adults, Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, 63, (2) pp. 165-170. ISSN 1079-5006 (2008) [Refereed Article]
Background. Adequate mobility is essential to maintain an independent and active lifestyle. The aim of this cross-sectional study is to examine the associations of age with temporal and spatial gait variables in a population-based sample of older people, and whether these associations are modified by sex. Methods. Men and women aged 60-86 years were randomly selected from the Southern Tasmanian electoral roll (n = 223). Gait speed, step length, cadence, step width, and double-support phase were recorded with a GAITRite walkway. Regression analysis was used to model the relationship between age, sex, and gait variables. Results. For men, after adjusting for height and weight, age was linearly associated with all gait variables ( p < .05) except cadence (p = .11). For women, all variables demonstrated a curvilinear association, with age-related change in these variables commencing during the 7th decade. Significant interactions were found between age and sex for speed (p = .04), cadence (p = .01), and double-support phase (p = .03). Conclusion. Associations were observed between age and a broad range of temporal and spatial gait variables in this study. These associations differed by sex, suggesting that the aging process may affect gait in men and women differently. These results provide a basis for further research into sex differences and mechanisms underlying gait changes with advancing age. Copyright 2008 by The Gerontological Society of America.