A health-related fitness and functional performance test battery for middle-aged and older adults: feasibility and health-related content validity

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2002 May;83(5):666-77. doi: 10.1053/apmr.2002.32304.


Objective: To evaluate the feasibility and health-related content validity of 6 health-related fitness (HRF) and 3 functional performance (FP) tests among middle-aged and older persons.

Design: Cross-sectional methodologic study.

Setting: Field laboratories in 3 communities of northeast Finland.

Participants: A regionally representative, community-based cohort of 55- to 79-year-old men (n=501) and women (n=632).

Interventions: Not applicable.

Main outcome measures: Health-related test exclusion rates (%) by age groups and odds ratios (ORs) of subjective health outcomes by fitness categories (least 20%, next 40%, most fit 40%).

Results: The health-related test exclusion rates increased with age, mainly because of musculoskeletal health limitations among the women and cardiovascular and musculoskeletal health limitations among the men. With the exception of dynamic back extension, 1-leg squat, 1-leg standing balance, and the 1-km walk among the women 75 years and older, 85% or more of the subjects qualified for the HRF tests and 95% or more for the FP tests. Strong and graded associations were found for cardiorespiratory and musculoskeletal fitness and the FP test levels with perceived health and functional ability status among both the men and the women (OR range, 2-31). The motor fitness test level was primarily associated with functional ability status.

Conclusions: All the HRF and FP tests showed health-related content validity, and 4 of 6 of the HRF tests and all of the FP tests proved to be safe, with minor health-related test exclusions for middle-aged and older adults. The findings may help to target physical activity intervention toward persons at high risk for declining health and functional ability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Body Composition / physiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Exercise Test*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Reproducibility of Results