Anthropometric measurements and mortality in frail older adults

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As the number of older adults increases, so does the number of frail older adults. Although anthropometry has been widely used as a way to stratify the overall mortality risk of a person, the significance of these measurements becomes blurred in the case of frail older adults who have changes in body composition. Therefore, the aim of this study is to determine the association of anthropometric measurements (body mass index, knee-adjusted height body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio and calf circumference) with mortality risk in a group of older Mexican adults.


This is a longitudinal analysis of the Mexican Health and Aging sub-sample (with biomarkers, n = 2573) from the first wave in 2001, followed-up to the last available wave in 2015. Only frail 50-year or older adults (Frailty Index with a cut-off value of 0.21 or higher, was used) were considered for this analysis (n = 1298). A survival analysis was performed with Kaplan-Meier curves and Cox regression models (unadjusted and adjusted for confounding). Socio-demographic, health risks, physical activity and comorbidities were variables used for adjusting the multivariate models.


From the total sample of 1298 older adults, 32.5% (n = 422) died during follow-up. The highest hazard ratio in the adjusted model was for calf circumference 1.31 (95% confidence interval 1.02–1.69, p = 0.034). Other measurements were not significant.


Anthropometric measurements have different significance in frail older adults, and these differences could have implications on adverse outcomes. Calf circumference has a potential value in predicting negative health outcomes.

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