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Enjoyment of Life Tied to Functional Impairment in Elderly

Lower enjoyment of life linked to increased odds of impaired activities of daily living, gait speed

TUESDAY, Jan. 21, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Enjoyment of life is associated with future disability and mobility in the elderly, according to a study published online Jan. 20 in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association.

Andrew Steptoe, D.Sc., from University College London, and colleagues conducted a prospective analysis involving 3,199 men and women aged 60 years or older participating in the English Longitudinal Study of Aging. The authors sought to examine the correlation between enjoyment of life and functional impairment over an eight-year period. A questionnaire was used to assess enjoyment of life. Outcomes included impairment in two or more activities of daily living, and changes in gait speed, assessed using a walking test.

The researchers found that 4.4, 11.7, and 16.8 percent of participants categorized in the high, medium, and low enjoyment-of-life tertiles, respectively, developed two or more impaired activities of daily life. The odds of developing impairments in activities of daily living were 1.83 in the low versus high tertile, after adjustment for covariates. After adjustment for gait speed and other covariates at baseline, gait speed after eight years correlated with baseline enjoyment of life (P < 0.001). Similar results were seen when analyses were limited to participants younger than 70 years at baseline.

"Our results provide evidence that reduced enjoyment of life may be related to the future disability and mobility of older people," the authors write.

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