Prevalence of Frailty and Factors Associated with Frailty in Individuals Aged 90 and Older: The 90+ Study

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2016 Nov;64(11):2257-2262. doi: 10.1111/jgs.14317. Epub 2016 Sep 2.


Objectives: To evaluate the prevalence of frailty and examine factors associated with frailty in the 90+ Study.

Design: Cross-sectional.

Setting: Population-based longitudinal study of people aged 90 and older.

Participants: 90+ Study participants (N = 824).

Measurements: Participants were assessed at baseline for five components of frailty (low weight, weakness, exhaustion, slowness, low physical activity). Frailty status was defined as meeting the criteria for at least three of the five components of frailty. The prevalence of frailty in people aged 90 and older was estimated according to sex and age (90-94, ≥95). Logistic regression models were constructed to assess the relationship between the prevalence of frailty and sex, age, education level, living situation, and marital status.

Results: This study estimated the overall prevalence of frailty in people aged 90 and older to be 28.0%. The overall prevalence of frailty was 24% in those aged 90 to 94 and 39.5% in those aged 95 and older. The prevalence of frailty was significantly associated with age in women but not men and with living with relatives or caregiver or in a group setting. Sex, education, and marital status were not significantly associated with frailty.

Conclusion: The prevalence of frailty was high in people aged 90 and older and continued to increase with age, particularly for women. As the number of people aged 90 and older continues to increase, it will be increasingly important to identify factors associated with frailty that may provide potential targets for the prevention of adverse health outcomes in this population.

Keywords: aged 90 and over; frailty; oldest-old; prevalence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged, 80 and over
  • California / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Frail Elderly / statistics & numerical data*
  • Geriatric Assessment*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors