A Matched Cohort Analysis for Examining the Association Between Slow Gait Speed and Shortened Longevity in Older Americans

J Appl Gerontol. 2022 Aug;41(8):1905-1913. doi: 10.1177/07334648221092399. Epub 2022 May 4.


This investigation examined the association between slow gait speed, as defined with newly established cut-points, and all-cause mortality in older Americans with a matched cohort analysis. The analytic sample included 10,259 Americans aged ≥65 years from the 2006-2014 waves of the Health and Retirement Study. Walking speed was measured in participant residences. Slow gait speed cut-points of <0.60 and <0.75 m/s were used separately for classifying participants as having slow walking speed. Nearest-neighbor propensity score matching was used to match the slow to the not-slow cohorts separately using both cut-points using relevant covariates. Persons with gait speed <0.60 m/s had a 1.42 higher hazard for mortality (95% CI: 1.28-1.57). Older Americans with gait speed <0.75 m/s had a 1.36 higher hazard for mortality (95% CI: 1.23-1.50). Slow gait speed may represent failing health and addressing how slow gait speed could be improved may help with referrals to appropriate interventions.

Keywords: aging; epidemiology; geriatric assessment; physical functional performance; walk test.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Gait*
  • Humans
  • Longevity
  • Retirement
  • Walking Speed*