Frailty is operationally defined as the amount of health problems an individual reports,, whether real or perceived.
It is generally regarded as a state of the elderly which is not surprisingly associated with mortality or risk of dying.
In the latest research, scientists explored whether the degree of frailty an individual possesses increases their risk of death even at earlier ages.
The cohort of 17, 226 people in the Canadian National Health Study were examined. This group ranged in age from 15 to 102 (average 44). They were each given a questionnaire that determined a frailty index that scores how frail a person is by how many of 42 frailty factors they possess. This includes such things as pain, trouble walking, cognitive problems and depression among many other signs of disability and disease.
The key findings of the study were that frailty increased with age, and that frailty was associated with an increased risk of death at all ages.
The 160 month mortality rate at age 40 for example was 2% for the most fit versus 16% for the most frail. These percentage were 42% versus 83% for those over age 75.
The practical implications of this study are that individuals must strive to maintain peak fitness at all ages in order to achieve maximal longevity.