In a recent paper with Jeff Sullivan, Dana P. Goldman, and Thomas M. Gill in PLOS One, we try to answer this question. The paper’s abstract is below.
Chronic diseases associated with aging, such as arthritis, frequently cause reduced mobility, pain and diminished quality of life. To date, research on the association between mobility and quality of life has primarily focused in the elderly; hence, much less is known about this association in the near elderly. This cross-sectional study aimed to assess the association between mobility and quality of life measures in the near elderly.
A prospective observational study of persons aged 50–69 years was conducted. The primary endpoint was quality of life measured by EQ-5D-5L, and the primary explanatory variable was observed mobility assessed using the 6-minute walk distance (6MWD). We applied regression models controlling for demographic, health status and other factors to evaluate the association between 6MWD and EQ-5D-5L.
Of the 183 participants analyzed in the study, 37% were male and the average age was 59.8 years. After adjusting for differences in demographic characteristics and health status, EQ-5D-5L-based utility values were 0.046 points (p<0.001), or 5.2% (95% CI: 2.7% to 7.8%), higher on average for individuals with 100 meters longer 6MWD. Holding constant the mobility-specific component of EQ-5D-5L, we still found that walking an additional 100 meters was associated with an EQ-5D-5L utility value that was 0.029 points (p<0.001), or 3.5% (95% CI: 1.7% to 5.5%), higher than the average participant. Among persons with arthritis, the association between 6MWD and EQ-5D-5L was slightly stronger.
Near elderly persons with better mobility had higher quality of life. Diseases that decrease mobility, such as arthritis, are likely to have a significant impact on quality of life.
- Shafrin J, Sullivan J, Goldman DP, Gill TM (2017) The association between observed mobility and quality of life in the near elderly. PLoS ONE 12(8): e0182920. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0182920