The effect of sex and physical frailty on incident disability after 2 years among community-dwelling older adults: KFACS study

Seoyoon Lee, Miji Kim, Yunhwan Lee, Jinhee Kim, Hak Chul Jang, Belong Cho, Kyung Mook Choi, Eun Roh, Sang Joon Son, Jin Hee Lee, Yong Soon Park, Sam Gyu Lee, Bong Jo Kim, Hyeonju Kim, Chang Won Won

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number588
JournalBMC geriatrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Disability incidence
  • Frailty
  • Korea
  • Sex difference


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