Factors associated with poor physical performance in older adults of 11 Peruvian high Andean communities

Diego Urrunaga-Pastor, Fernando M. Runzer-Colmenares, Tania M. Arones, Rosario Meza-Cordero, Silvana Taipe-Guizado, Jack M. Guralnik, Jose F. Parodi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Physical performance in the older adult has been extensively studied. However, only a few studies have evaluated physical performance among older adults of high Andean populations and none have studied the factors associated with it. The objective of this study was to evaluate factors associated with poor physical performance by using the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) in older adults living in 11 Peruvian high Andean communities. Methods: An analytical cross-sectional study was carried out in inhabitants aged 60 or over from 11 high-altitude Andean communities of Peru during 2013-2017. Participants were categorized in two groups according to their SPPB score: poor physical performance (0-6 points) and medium/good physical performance (7-12 points). Additionally, we collected socio-demographic, medical, functional and cognitive assessment information. Poisson regression models were constructed to identify factors associated with poor physical performance. Prevalence ratio (PR) with 95% confidence intervals (95 CI%) are presented. Results: A total of 407 older adults were studied. The average age was 73.0 ± 6.9 years (range: 60-94 years) and 181 (44.5%) participants had poor physical performance (0-6 points). In the adjusted Poisson regression analysis, the factors associated with poor physical performance were: female gender (PR=1.29; 95%CI: 1.03-1.61), lack of social support (PR=2.10; 95%CI: 1.17-3.76), number of drugs used (PR=1.09; 95%CI: 1.01-1.17), urinary incontinence (PR=1.45; 95%CI: 1.16-1.82), exhaustion (PR=1.35; 95%CI: 1.03-1.75) and cognitive impairment (PR=1.89; 95%CI: 1.40-2.55). Conclusions: Almost half of the population evaluated had poor physical performance based on the SPPB. Factors that would increase the possibility of suffering from poor physical performance were: female gender, lack of social support, number of drugs used, urinary incontinence, exhaustion and cognitive impairment. Future studies with a larger sample and longitudinal follow-up are needed to design beneficial interventions for the high Andean population.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number59
Pages (from-to)59
StatePublished - 2019


  • Altitude
  • Elderly
  • Latin America
  • Peru
  • Physical performance


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