Functional reach: A marker of physical frailty

D. K. Weiner*, P. W. Duncan, J. Chandler, S. A. Studenski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

324 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To establish the concurrent validity of our new balance instrument, functional reach (FR = maximal safe standing forward reach), as a marker of physical frailty compared with other clinical measures of physical performance. Design, Setting, and Participants: 45 community-dwelling persons age 66-104 were evaluated at one point in time using (1) FR (yardstick method), (2) Physical and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (PADL, IADL), (3) Life Space, a 3-point measure of social mobility, (4) 10-item hierarchical mobility skills protocol, (5) 10-foot walking speed, (6) one- footed standing, and (7) tandem walking. Data analysis employed Spearman correlations. Partial r's were also calculated after controlling for age. Results: The FR performance range was broad (4.3-16.5 inches, mean 10.9, SD 3.1). Except for PADL, the association of FR with the other physical performance measures was strong, with r's ranging from 0.64-0.71; the association of FR with PADL was 0.48. After controlling for age in the regression analysis, partial r's ranged from 0.52-0.63. The association of FR with age was -0.50. Conclusions: Based on cross-sectional data, FR is a practical instrument that correlates with physical frailty even more than with age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-207
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes


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