Gait speed reference values in community-dwelling older adults – Cross-sectional analysis from the Rotterdam Study

L. J. Dommershuijsen, J. Ragunathan, T. R. Ruiter, D. Groothof, F. U.S. Mattace-Raso, M. A. Ikram, H. A. Polinder-Bos*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Gait speed is a simple, inexpensive and clinically useful marker of physical function in older adults. We aimed to establish gait speed reference values for community-dwelling older adults. To this end, we further explored the association of age, sex and height with gait speed. Methods: This study included community-dwelling participants aged 50 years and over enrolled in the Rotterdam Study. Participants completed the gait protocol between 2009 and 2016. The mean gait speed was calculated for age and height groups, stratified by sex. Reference values for gait speed were calculated using a quantile regression model adjusted for sex, the non-linear effects of age and height, as well as the interaction between age and sex plus the interaction between age and height. Results: The study population included 4656 Dutch participants with a mean (standard deviation) age of 67.7 (9.5) years, comprising 2569 (55.2%) women. The mean height of the participants was 1.69 (0.10) meters and the mean gait speed was 1.20 (0.20) m/s. Gait speed was lower with older age and greater with taller stature, but the effect of height disappeared above the age of 80 years. Sex did not affect gait speed after accounting for age and height. Age-, sex-, and height-specific reference values for gait speed are available for use at Conclusions: We found that height explains the commonly noted difference in usual gait speed between sexes and that neither height nor sex impacts gait speed in the very oldest adults. We developed reference values for usual gait speed in Western European community-dwelling older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111646
JournalExperimental Gerontology
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Erasmus MC University Medical Center ; the Erasmus University Rotterdam ; the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research ; the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development ; the Research Institute for Diseases in the Elderly ; the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science ; the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport ; The European Commission ; the Netherlands Genomics Initiative ; and the Municipality of Rotterdam .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors


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