Associations between physical strength, cerebral function and mental health in independent-living elderly Japanese women

  • Kimiko Hayashi
  • Juichi Sato
  • Nakako Fujiwara
  • Miwako Kajita
  • Michitaro Fukuharu
  • Xiaochen Hu
  • Kiyonori Kuriki
  • Hideki Hoshino
  • Rieko Kato
  • Shinkan Tokudome
  • Yuzo Sato
Original Article



To evaluate the physical strength, cerebral function, and mental health conditions in elderly persons, and to examine the correlation between these functions.


The subjects were 151 independent-living elderly Japanese women, mean age 70 +/-5 years (+/-SD; range, 60 to 80 years), with normal abilities in daily life. The health check-up was conducted from April to May 1997. Physical strength was estimated by measuring seven activities. Cerebral functions were assessed by six sub-tests of the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). Their mental health status was measured by four sub-scales of the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ)-28.


The physical strenght and almost all of the cerebral functions decreased with age. Social dysfunction and severe depression on the GHQ sub-scales also worsened with age. Physical strength was strongly correlated with cerebral functions after adjusting for the confounding effect of aging. There were also interrelations between physical strength and mental health.


This study provided important information on the correlation between physical and mental status in elderly women. Future longitudinal studies with the intervention of physical training are required to determine whether a causal relationship exists between these factors.

Key words

physical strength cerebral function mental health GATB (General Aptitude Test Battery) GHQ (General Health Questionnaire) 


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Copyright information

© Japanese Society of Hygiene 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kimiko Hayashi
    • 1
  • Juichi Sato
    • 2
  • Nakako Fujiwara
    • 3
  • Miwako Kajita
    • 4
  • Michitaro Fukuharu
    • 5
  • Xiaochen Hu
    • 5
  • Kiyonori Kuriki
    • 6
  • Hideki Hoshino
    • 7
  • Rieko Kato
    • 8
  • Shinkan Tokudome
    • 6
  • Yuzo Sato
    • 5
  1. 1.Aichi Prefectural College of Nursing and HealthNagoya
  2. 2.Department of General MedicineNagoya University HospitalNagoyaJapan
  3. 3.Nagoya City University School of NursingNagoya
  4. 4.Aichi Medical UniversityAichi
  5. 5.Research Center of Health, Physical Fitness and SportsNagoya UniversityNagoya
  6. 6.Department of Health Promotion and Disease PreventionNagoya City University Graduate School of Medical SciencesNagoya
  7. 7.Aichi-Bunkyo Women’s CollegeAichi
  8. 8.Fujita Health University School of MedicineAichi

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