Saturday, December 15, 2012

The "Sitting Test" Predicts Longevity

A simple test that looks at how easy -- or difficult -- it is for you to sit down on the floor and then get back up may help predict how long you’re going to live, a new study shows.

Middle-aged and elderly people who needed to use both hands and knees to get up and down were almost seven times more likely to die within six years, compared to those who could spring up and down without support, Brazilian researchers reported Thursday in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.
Of course, a lot of this just has to do with weight and fitness; highly obese people are unlikely to be able to pass the test, and fitness would likely correlate with agility required to be able to do this without using hands and knees for support.
The volunteers could score five points if they could sit down without touching their knees, legs, hands, or arms on the floor and another five points if they could get back up unaided.

They lost a point for each body part that was leaned on while getting down or up. So, people who could get down touching the floor with just one knee scored four points. If they needed to touch a hand and a knee on the floor as they were rising, they would lose two points for a score of three. If the volunteers looked wobbly on the way down or up, they lost half a point.

The most agile ended up with a combined score of 10 while those who couldn’t get down or up at all were scored with a zero.
I can just barely score a 10, with a little luck in the final stagger, but using one knee makes is a piece of cake, so score me a 9.5.  So what does that predict?
A person’s score matched well with risk of death. People who scored zero to three were 6.5 times as likely to die during the course of the study, compared to people who scored from 8 to 10. Those who had scores of 3.5 to 5.5 were 3.8 times as likely to die as the high scorers -- and those who scored 6 to 7.4 range were 1.8 times more likely to die than those with the highest scores.

“Just two subjects that scored 10 died in the follow-up of about six years,” says Ara├║jo. If someone between the ages of 51 and 80 scores 10, “the chances of being alive in the next six years are quite good,” he said.
I think it would be pretty easy to come up with some simple physical tests that would correlate well with longevity through weight and fitness.  The trick would be finding something that would identify something beyond the obvious factors of weight and fitness that would enable intervention that would allow longer life.

1 comment:

  1. I'm going to die a lot sooner than Fritz! Of course, he's 10 years younger and we have totally different musculature so either or both of those may play a part.