Physical Performance, Self-Rated Health and Mortality among Older Adults in the U.S. and England

Mary Beth Ofstedal, University of Michigan
John Bound, University of Michigan
Min Hee Kim, University of Michigan

The integration of physical measures and biomarkers in population-based surveys has become increasingly common in recent years. These measures are considered to be an important complement to self-reported health measures that are typically collected in large surveys. Yet the value of these measures has not yet been fully demonstrated. Using data from the Health and Retirement Study and the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, we assess the value of three physical performance measures (grip strength, lung function and walking speed) as predictors of self-rated health and mortality among persons age 65 and older. We use ordered probit models to predict self-rated health and logistic regression to predict 4-year mortality controlling for demographic factors, self-reported functioning (Nagi, IADL, ADL) and self-reported diagnosed conditions. Preliminary results suggest that the performance measures capture a dimension of health that is not explained by the self-reported measures.

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Presented in Session 66: Contributions of Biodemography to Understanding Health, Aging and Mortality