Prevalence of locomotive syndrome in Japan: a nationwide, cross-sectional Internet survey

J Orthop Sci. 2014 Sep;19(5):792-7. doi: 10.1007/s00776-014-0606-3. Epub 2014 Jul 23.


Background: The authors recently developed a screening tool, the 25-question Geriatric Locomotive Function Scale (GLFS-25), for the early detection of locomotive syndrome (LS). However, the nationwide prevalence of LS based on the GLFS-25 remains unknown.

Methods: A nationwide, cross-sectional Internet survey was conducted to estimate sex- and age-specific mean values of the GLFS-25 and the total number of individuals with LS in Japan. The distribution of the subjects' sex, age, geographical location, and population size was approximated by that observed in the national population census conducted in 2010. In total, 4,500 subjects who completed the GLFS-25 questionnaire on the Internet were included in the present study.

Results: The age-specific mean values for the GLFS25 were 5.8 in the 40s, 6.0 in the 50s, 5.9 in the 60s, and 8.8 in the 70s. The mean value for the GLFS-25 was significantly higher in the 70s than in the other age groups. The mean value for the GLFS-25 was significantly higher in females than in males. The prevalence of LS was 8.4% in the 40s and remained stable until the 60s, but increased rapidly in the 70s. The overall mean prevalence of LS was 10.2%. The total number of individuals between the 40s and 70s with LS in Japan was roughly estimated to be 6.5 million.

Conclusions: This study determined sex- and age-specific estimates for the GLFS-25 using a nationwide, cross-sectional Internet survey. The current results highlight the magnitude of the problem associated with LS and encourage further large-scale population-based epidemiologic studies to determine the accurate prevalence of LS using stratified random sampling.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Locomotion / physiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mobility Limitation*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / diagnosis
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Syndrome