Aging Clinical and Experimental Research

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 59–66 | Cite as

Estimation of reduced walking speed using simple measurements of physical and psychophysiological function in community-dwelling elderly people: a cross-sectional and longitudinal study

  • Takuji Adachi
  • Kuniyasu Kamiya
  • Yuji Kono
  • Kotaro Iwatsu
  • Yuko Shimizu
  • Ikumi Honda
  • Sumio YamadaEmail author
Original Article



Early detection of reduced mobility function is important in elderly people. Usual walking speed is useful to assess mobility function, but is often not feasible in a community setting.


This study aimed to explore a simple surrogate indicator of usual walking speed in elderly people.


The participants were 516 community-dwelling elderly people. As a baseline survey, the usual walking speed and candidates of surrogate indicators including physical function and psychophysiological function were measured. After 2 years, the occurrence of mobility limitation was assessed.


In cross-sectional analysis, a linear regression model with maximum step length, age, and sex presented the most favourable adjusted R2 of 0.426 for estimating usual walking speed. Maximum step length (MSL) also showed good predictive accuracy for usual walking speed < 0.8 m/s {area under the curve [AUC] 0.908 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.811, 1.000]} and < 1.0 m/s [AUC 0.883 (95% CI) 0.832, 0.933)] in receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) analysis. In longitudinal analysis, the predictive accuracy of MSL for mobility limitation [AUC 0.813 (95% CI 0.752, 0.874)] was similar to that of usual walking speed [AUC 0.808 (95% CI 0.747, 0.869)] in ROC analysis.

Conclusions and discussion

The results of this study suggest that MSL may serve as a simple surrogate indicator of UWS in elderly people.


Screening test Walking speed Mobility limitation Community-dwelling elderly 



This study was supported by a grant from the Suzuken Memorial Foundation (Grant no. 14–021; clinical principal investigator: Yuko Shimizu) and by a Grant-in-Aid from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (Grant no. 26293446; clinical principal investigator: Ikumi Honda).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The study protocol was approved by the Ethics Committee of the School of Health Sciences, Nagoya University (approval number 2012-0131).

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all participants included in this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Takuji Adachi
    • 1
  • Kuniyasu Kamiya
    • 2
  • Yuji Kono
    • 3
  • Kotaro Iwatsu
    • 4
  • Yuko Shimizu
    • 5
  • Ikumi Honda
    • 6
  • Sumio Yamada
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Program in Physical and Occupational TherapyNagoya University Graduate School of MedicineNagoyaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Hygiene and Public HealthOsaka Medical CollegeTakatsukiJapan
  3. 3.Department of RehabilitationFujita Health University Banbuntane Hotokukai HospitalNagoyaJapan
  4. 4.Department of RehabilitationHirakata Kohsai HospitalHirakataJapan
  5. 5.Department of Rehabilitation ScienceNagoya University Graduate School of MedicineNagoyaJapan
  6. 6.Department of NursingNagoya University Graduate School of MedicineNagoyaJapan

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