Study identifies how to reduce the risk of frailty

Those wanting to avoid frailty later in life may do so by reducing obesity and sedentary behaviour, increasing intensity of physical activity and stopping smoking, a study published in the open-access journal PLOS One has found.

According to the World Health Organisation Consortium on Healthy Ageing, frailty is defined as “the compromised ability of an older person to cope with everyday or acute stressors” due to the “increased vulnerability brought by age-associated declines in physiological reserve and function across multiple organ systems”.

In this study (by Dr Nils Niederstrasser et al), researchers looked at frailty development among  7,420 participants, and frailty progression in another 8,780 participants over a 12-year follow-up.

The predictors of frailty were found to be age, weight, education, high waist-to-hip ratio, smoking status, pain, sedentary behaviour, and body strength.

“By making lifestyle changes, such as becoming more active, quitting smoking and losing weight, a personal may dramatically reduce their chance of becoming frail,” said Dr Niederstrasser, of Leicester’s De Montfort University in the UK.

“For example, a person who does not smoke and is physically active has half the risk of becoming frail compared with a person who is physically inactive and smokes.”




WHO, 2016, ‘WHO Clinical Consortium on Health Ageing’, [accessed 29/10/19]

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