Objectives: The concurrent contributions of dynamic, interrelated late-life parameters, such as body mass index (BMI), cognition, and physical functioning on mortality in the elderly are unclear, as is the influence of APOE genotype. We explored these measures in relation to 7-year mortality in long-lived Italian elderly.
Design: A representative, age-stratified, population sample.
Setting: The Treviso Longeva (TRELONG) Study, in Treviso, Italy.
Participants: Three hundred eleven men and 357 women, aged 70 years and older (mean age 84 ± 8 years).
Measurements: Seven-year mortality, BMI, Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score, Activities of Daily Living (ADL), APOE genotype, and a variety of clinical and survey data.
Results: In separate age- and sex-adjusted analyses, BMI <18.5 kg/m(2), MMSE ≤24, and ADL <6, were associated with greater 7-year mortality among adults aged 70 years and older. In a multivariate model including all factors, MMSE ≤24, and ADL <6 were associated with greater mortality; BMI ≥30 kg/m(2) was protective. There were no interactions between BMI, MMSE, or ADL. When excluding those dying within 3 years of baseline, only an MMSE ≤24 was related to mortality. APOEε4 was not related to mortality.
Conclusion: Higher MMSE score, higher ADL score, and higher BMI, independent of age, sex, and other factors, are markers for longer life among northern Italian adults aged 70 years or older. Global cognition, BMI, and physical functioning, assessed by short, simple tests are profound indicators of death within less than a decade.