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Simple Sit Test Predicts Long Life

On Behalf of | Dec 16, 2012 | Medical News You Can Use

How well middle-age and older adults can get up off the floor may predict their chances of long-term survival.

Each additional support needed to get to and rise from a sitting position on the floor  –  knee, hands, etc.  –  was associated with a 21% lower chance of survival over about 6 years of follow-up in a trial online in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

The survival odds differed by 5.44-fold between the highest and lowest scorers on the sit-rise test after adjustment for age, sex, and body mass index, Claudio Gil Soares de Araújo, PhD, of Gama Filho University and Clinimex in Rio de Janeiro, and colleagues reported.

Ability to rise from the floor reflects muscle strength, coordination, balance, and flexibility needed for getting up out of a chair, bending over to pick up an item, and various other daily activities and is also tied to risk of falls, they explained.

“Application of a simple and safe assessment tool such as sit-rise test…in general health examinations could add relevant information regarding functional capabilities and outcomes in non-hospitalized adults,” the group wrote.

Other functional tests are commonly used, such as chair-to-stand and gait speed, but the floor-to stand test has the advantage of requiring no equipment and minimal space and time, they pointed out.

The retrospective study included all 2,002 individuals ages 51 to 80 evaluated with the test at a single center from 1997 through 2011, excluding competitive athletes and those with relevant musculoskeletal problems.

The test was administered on a nonslip surface, with individuals instructed to try to sit on the floor and then get back up without worrying about speed and using the least support they felt necessary.

A maximum of 10 points was possible, 5 for sitting and 5 for rising without any supports. Each support (hand, forearm, knee, side of leg, or hand on the knee) used took away 1 point; and participants could lose an additional 0.5 points for an unsteady performance.

Over the median 6.3 years of follow-up for mortality in state vital status registries, nearly 8% of the cohort died.

Sit-rise test scores tended to be poorer at older ages, but the association between all-cause mortality and score persisted with adjustment for age as well as sex and body mass index.

The hazard ratios compared with the highest-scoring, 8-to 10-point group were (all statistically significant):

  • 5.44 for lowest scores (0 to 3 points)
  • 3.44 for scores of 3.5 to 5.5
  • 1.84 for scores of 6 to 7.5

That translated to a 3-year shorter life expectancy for the lowest versus highest scoring groups.

The researchers noted that no adverse events, such as injury from slips or falls, have occurred during the test over a 14-year experience at the center.

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