Original Study| Volume 19, ISSUE 11, P981-988.e7, November 2018

Association Between Gait Speed With Mortality, Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies



      Slow gait speed may be associated with premature mortality, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and cancer, although a comprehensive meta-analysis is lacking. In this systematic review and meta-analysis, we explored potential associations between gait speed and mortality, incident CVD, and cancer.


      A systematic search in major databases was undertaken from inception until March 15, 2018 for prospective cohort studies reporting data on gait speed and mortality, incident CVD, and cancer.

      Setting and Participants

      All available.


      The adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs), based on the model with the maximum number of covariates for each study between gait speed (categorized as decrease in 0.1 m/s) and mortality, incident CVD, and cancer, were meta-analyzed with a random effects model.


      Among 7026 articles, 44 articles corresponding to 48 independent cohorts were eligible. The studies followed up on a total of 101,945 participants (mean age 72.2 years; 55% women) for a median of 5.4 years. After adjusting for a median of 9 potential confounders and the presence of publication bias, each reduction of 0.1 m/s in gait speed was associated with a 12% increased risk of earlier mortality (45 studies; HR = 1.12, 95% CI: 1.09-1.14; I2 = 90%) and 8% increased risk of CVD (13 studies; HR = 1.08, 95% CI: 1.03-1.13; I2 = 81%), but no relationship with cancer was observed (HR = 1.00, 95% CI: 0.97-1.04; I2 = 15%).


      Slow gait speed may be a predictor of mortality and CVD in older adults. Because gait speed is a quick and inexpensive measure to obtain, our study suggests that it should be routinely used and may help identify people at risk of premature mortality and CVD.


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