Mobility Limitations in the Medicare Population: Prevalence and Sociodemographic and Clinical Correlates

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OBJECTIVESTo examine the prevalence of and clinical markers associated with mobility limitations in Medicare Current Beneficiary Community Survey (MCBS) respondents.DESIGNCross-sectional analysis of a community survey.SETTINGCommunity.PARTICIPANTSTwelve thousand seven hundred sixty-nine respondents from the 2001 MCBS, aged 65 and older.MEASUREMENTSFour questions from the MCBS were used to create four levels of mobility limitation: none, mild, moderate, and severe. Sampling weights were used to calculate estimates of means and proportions of the entire Medicare population for each mobility limitation category. A polytomous logistic regression analysis was used to model the association between four levels of mobility limitation and sociodemographic and clinical variables.RESULTSPrevalence of mobility limitations ranged from 9.5 million (mild) to 1.2 million (severe). Increasing severity of mobility limitation was associated with older age, being female, reporting fair or poor health, being overweight, smoking, having a greater number of comorbidities, having an annual income below $25,000, having less than a high school education, being unmarried, and living with others.CONCLUSIONNational prevalence estimates suggest that functional mobility limitation is a significant problem for many older adults and is associated with some potentially modifiable characteristics.

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