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Prevalence of Frailty in Older Men and Women: Cross-Sectional Data from the Geelong Osteoporosis Study

Tembo MC1, Holloway-Kew KL2, Sui SX2, Dunning T3,4, Low ACH3, Yong SJ3, Ng BL3, Brennan-Olsen SL5,6,7,8, Williams LJ2, Kotowicz MA2,3,6, Pasco JA2,3,6,9.

Calcif Tissue Int. 2020 Jul 2. doi: 10.1007/s00223-020-00713-3. [Epub ahead of print]

Few studies have investigated the prevalence of frailty in the Australian general population. This study determined the prevalence of frailty in a population-based sample of older adults and examined the relationship between frailty and comorbid conditions. Men (n = 347) and women (n = 360) aged ≥ 60 year from the Geelong Osteoporosis Study (GOS) were assessed between 2016-2019 and 2011-2014, respectively. Frailty was identified using a modified Fried frailty phenotype. Prevalence estimates were standardised to the 2011 Australian population. Kruskal-Wallis test and χ2 test were used to analyse data. For women, mean standardised prevalence estimates were 18.3% (14.1-22.5) for frail, 54.1% (47.3-60.8) pre-frail and 22.9% (18.9-26.8) robust. Corresponding estimates for men were 13.1% (9.8-16.3) frail, 47.8% (42.0-53.6) pre-frail and 27.3% (22.7-31.8) robust. Women who were frail were older, shorter, tended to have a higher body mass index (BMI) and used more medications compared to other groups. Compared to robust women, those who were frail were more likely to have cardio-metabolic (OR 3.5 (0.7-20.0)), pulmonary (OR 3.5 (1.5-8.4)) and musculoskeletal (OR 10.1 (2.1-48.0)) conditions. Frail men were older, had a higher BMI and were more likely to have musculoskeletal conditions (OR 5.8 (2.8-12.3)) and tended to be from a lower SES. No further associations were observed. This study reported the prevalence of frail and pre-frail individuals in a population-based sample of Australian men and women. Frailty was associated with musculoskeletal conditions for both men and women; however, associations with cardio-metabolic and pulmonary comorbidities were evident in women only.