Background: This study investigated the impact of physical frailty on the development of disabilities in mobility, activities of daily living (ADL), and instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) according to sex among community-dwelling Korean older adults. Methods: We used data of 2,905 older adults aged 70-84 years from the Korean Frailty and Aging Cohort Study (KFACS) at baseline (2016-2017) and Wave 2 (2018-2019). Fried’s physical frailty phenotype was used to identify frailty. Results: After adjustment, frailty showed a higher impact for women than men on developing mobility disability (odds ratio [OR]=14.00, 95% confidence interval [CI]=4.8–40.78 vs. OR=9.89, 95% CI=4.28–22.86) and IADL disability after two years (OR=7.22, 95% CI=2.67–19.56 vs. OR=3.19, 95% CI=1.17–8.70). Pre-frailty led to mobility disability for women and men (OR=2.77, 95% CI=1.93–3.98 vs. OR=2.49, 95% CI=1.66–3.72, respectively), and IADL disability only for women (OR=3.01, 95% CI=1.28–7.09). Among the IADL components, both men and women who were prefrail or frail showed increased disability in ‘using transportation’. Among men, pre-frailty was significantly associated with disability in “going out” and “shopping”. In women, frailty was significantly associated with disability in “doing laundry,” “performing household chores,” “shopping,” and “managing money”. Conclusions: Physical frailty increased disability over 2 years for women more than men. Physical frailty increased disability in outdoor activity-related IADL components in men and household work-related IADL components in women. This study highlights the need for gender-specific policies and preventative programs for frailty, particularly restorative interventions that focus on women who are physically frail.
- Disability incidence
- Sex difference