Association of a modified physiologic index with mortality and incident disability: the Health, Aging, and Body Composition study

J.L. Sanders, R.M. Boudreau, B.W.J.H. Penninx, E.M. Simonsick, S.B. Kritchevsky, S. Satterfield, T.B. Harris, D.C. Bauer, A.B. Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Background.Indexes constructed from components may identify individuals who age well across systems. We studied the associations of a Modified Physiologic Index (systolic blood pressure, forced vital capacity, Digit Symbol Substitution Test score, serum cystatin-C, serum fasting glucose) with mortality and incident disability.Methods.Data are from the Health, Aging, and Body Composition study on 2,737 persons (51.2% women, 40.3% black) aged 70-79 years at baseline and followed on average 9.3 (2.9) years. Components were graded 0 (healthiest), 1 (middle), or 2 (unhealthiest) by tertile or clinical cutpoints and summed to calculate a continuous index score (range 0-10). We used multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression to calculate risk of death or disability and determined accuracy predicting death using the area under the curve.Results.Mortality was 19% greater per index unit (p <. 05). Those with highest index scores (scores 7-10) had 3.53-fold greater mortality than those with lowest scores (scores 0-2). The unadjusted index (c-statistic = 0.656, 95% CI 0.636-0.677, p <. 0001) predicted death better than age (c-statistic = 0.591, 95% CI 0.568-0.613, p <. 0001; for comparison, p <. 0001). The index attenuated the age association with mortality by 33%. A model including age and the index did not predict death better than the index alone (c-statistic = 0.671). Prediction was improved with the addition of other markers of health (c-statistic = 0.710, 95% CI 0.689-0.730). The index was associated with incident disability (adjusted hazard ratio per index unit = 1.04, 95% CI 1.01-1.07).Conclusions.A simple index of available physiologic measurements was associated with mortality and incident disability and may prove useful for identifying persons who age well across systems. © The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1439-1446
JournalJournals of Gerontology. Series A: Biological Sciences & Medical Sciences
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Cite this