FRIDAY, Sept. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Testing simple physical
abilities may help predict a person's risk of death, suggests a new
Measuring basic capabilities such as grip strength, walking
speed, rising from a chair, or balancing on one leg reveal a
person's capacity to perform everyday tasks, explained the
researchers at University College London in the United Kingdom.
The study authors analyzed 33 studies that examined physical
capabilities in people of any age and recorded subsequent deaths
among the participants. Overall, those who had poorer results on
physical function tests had a consistently higher risk of
In 14 studies that included a total of 53,476 people, the death
rate was 1.67 times higher for people with the weakest grip
strength than for those with the strongest grip.
Five studies that included a total of 14,692 people found that
the death rate was 2.87 times higher for the slowest walkers than
for the fastest walkers.
Five studies that included a total of 28,036 people found that
the death rate was nearly twice as high for people who were slowest
to rise from a chair than for those who were quickest at this
While most of the studies included older people, the association
between grip strength and death risk was also found in younger
adults, the researchers said.
The study was published online Sept. 10 in the
Screening tests that assess physical abilities may help identify
people at increased risk of death who might benefit from targeted
interventions such as strength training, the researchers said.
The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more about
seniors and exercise.