Health deficits in community dwelling adults aged 40 to 75 years
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BACKGROUND: Middle and older years are associated with age related health deficits but how early this begins and progresses is poorly understood. Better understanding is needed to address early decline and support healthier ageing outcomes. METHODS: Seemingly healthy, community dwelling adults aged 40 to 75 years were recruited via local council and business networks. They completed online surveys about sleep quality, distress and physical activity, and two hours of objective testing of physiologic and anthropometric measures, mobility, cognition, grip strength, foot sensation, dexterity and functional hearing. Analysis compared outcomes for age, gender, and age and gender groups with population norms for 21 health assessments. The total number of non-compliant tests for each participant was calculated by summing the number of non-compliant tests, and the frequency of these scores across the sample was reported. Gender and age effects were tested using ANOVA models. Combined age and gender categories were used for subsequent logistic regression modelling, with females aged 40–49 years being the default comparator. RESULTS: Of 561 participants (67% female; mean age 60 years (SD 10.3)), everyone had at least one deficit and median deficits was 5 (IQR 2). More than 50% of participants did not meet anthropometric and exercise norms, while 30 to 40% had reduced functional hearing and cognition. Overall, men performed worse and deficits increased with age particularly for physical activity, audiology, mobility, anthropometry, oximetry and foot sensation. Heart rate, body temperature and dyspnoea were the only variables where compliance was within 95% of expected values. Multiple areas of functional decline were found in people aged in their 40s and 50s. CONCLUSIONS: The health deficits identified are mostly mutable hence identification and interventions to address the multi-system functional decline in people as young as 40 has the capacity to ensure healthier ageing.
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