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The Association between Frailty and Disability among the Elderly in Rural Areas of Korea

1
Department of Preventive Medicine, Institute of Health Sciences, College of Medicine Gyeongsang National University, Jinju-si, Jinju 52727, Korea
2
Center for Farmer’s Safety and Health, Gyeongsang National University Hospital, 79 Gangnam-ro, Jinju-si, Jinju 52727, Korea
3
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Gyeongsang National University Hospital, 90 Chiram-dong, Jinju, Gyeongsangnam-do, Jinju 52727, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(14), 2481; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16142481
Received: 25 June 2019 / Revised: 8 July 2019 / Accepted: 9 July 2019 / Published: 11 July 2019
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Abstract

Background: The rapid increase in the elderly population in Korea is associated with an expanded burden of health problems. The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between frailty and physical disability among Koreans using the frailty index, which was developed to assess health conditions in elderly people. Methods: We included 503 elderly people from the Namgaram-II cohort. We used the Korean version of the Kaigo-Yobo checklist as our frailty assessment tool. For the disability assessment tool, we used the Korean version of the 12-item World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule (WHODAS-12). We fit multiple linear regression models for men and women for each section. Our models also included variables for musculoskeletal diseases that are known to be associated with frailty, such as sarcopenia, osteoporosis, and radiologic knee osteoarthritis. Results: After correcting for social demographic characteristics, blood profiles, high blood pressure, and diabetes, the Kaigo-Yobo results showed a significant difference in frailty between men (1.53 ± 0.74) and women (2.60 ± 0.77), and WHODAS-12 also showed a significant difference between men (6.59 ± 5.08) and women (15.99 ± 5.70). After correcting for social demographic characteristics, blood profiles, high blood pressure, and diabetes, Kaigo-Yobo and WHODAS-12 were significantly associated with each other among both men (β = 2.667) and women (β = 3.200) (p < 0.001). Conclusions: The study results show an association between frailty and disability among elderly people in rural areas. Therefore, prevention should occur at the pre-frailty stage of a person’s life to prevent further disability. Also, disability welfare programs should be provided to elderly people who present with frailty. View Full-Text
Keywords: disability; elderly; frailty; rural disability; elderly; frailty; rural
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Choi, Y.-S.; Kim, M.-J.; Lee, G.-Y.; Seo, Y.-M.; Seo, A.-R.; Kim, B.; Yoo, J.-I.; Park, K.S. The Association between Frailty and Disability among the Elderly in Rural Areas of Korea. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 2481.

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