Individual and cumulative association of commonly used biomarkers on frailty: a cross-sectional analysis of the Mexican Health and Aging Study

  • Mario Ulises Pérez-Zepeda
  • Carmen García-Peña
  • María Fernanda Carrillo-VegaEmail author
Original Article


Frailty has been recognized as a common condition in older adults, however, there is scarce information on the association between frailty and commonly used biomarkers. The aim of this study was to assess the individual and cumulative association of biomarkers with frailty status. This is a cross-sectional analysis of the 2012 wave of the Mexican Health and Aging Study. A sub-sample of 60-year or older adults with anthropometric measurements was analyzed. Frailty was defined with a 31-item frailty index and those considered frail had a score ≥ 0.21. Biomarkers were further categorized as normal/abnormal and tested both one by one and grouped (according to their usual cutoff values). Adjusted logistic models were performed. A total of 1128 older adults were analyzed and their mean age was 69.45 years and 51.24% of them were women. 26.7% (n = 301) were categorized as frail. Individual biomarkers associated with frailty after adjusting for confounding were: hemoglobin [odds ratio (OR) 1.67, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.13–2.46, p = 0.009], glycated hemoglobin (OR 2.04, 95% CI 1.54–2.7, p < 0.001) and vitamin D (OR 1.53, 95% CI 1.13–2.07, p = 0.005). Those with ≥ 4 abnormal biomarkers had an independent association with frailty when compared to those without any abnormal biomarker (OR 2.64, 95% CI 1.3–5.25, p = 0.005). Aside from the individual associations of specific biomarkers, our findings show that an incremental association of abnormal biomarkers increases the probability of frailty, accounting for the multidimensional nature of frailty and the possible interplay between components of the system that potentiate to give rise to a negative condition such as frailty.


Frail older adult Geriatric epidemiology Biomarkers Aging 



The Mexican Health and Aging Study was supported in its 2012 version by National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Aging (R01AG018016, R Wong, PI).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in the present study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the National Geriatrics Institute research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

40520_2019_1127_MOESM1_ESM.docx (305 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 304 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto Nacional de GeriatríaMexicoMéxico
  2. 2.Instituto de Envejecimiento, Facultad de MedicinaPontificia Universidad JaverianaBogotáColombia
  3. 3.Instituto Nacional de GeriatríaMexicoMexico

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