Correlates of mobility limitation in African Americans

Roland J. Thorpe, Olivio J. Clay, Sarah L. Szanton, Jason C. Allaire, Keith E. Whitfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Background. This study identified demographic and health-related characteristics that were related to mobility limitation in a sample of community-dwelling African Americans. Methods. The sample consisted of 602 community-dwelling African-American men and women ages 48-92 years at study inception. Participants who reported being limited "a lot" or "a little" in climbing one flight of stairs or walking several blocks were considered to have mobility limitation. Logistic regression was conducted to estimate the independent effect of each demographic and health-related characteristic on odds of mobility limitation.Results.African Americans who reported two or more medical conditions had higher odds of mobility limitation (women: odds ratio = 3.52; 95% confidence interval: 1.89-6.53 and men: odds ratio = 2.53; 95% confidence interval: 1.10-5.85) than those who reported one or fewer medical conditions. African Americans with major depressive symptoms had higher odds of mobility limitation (women: odds ratio = 2.98; 95% confidence interval: 1.55-5.71 and men: odds ratio = 3.19; 95% confidence interval: 1.33-7.65) than those without major depressive symptoms. Conclusions. These results highlight the importance of creating interventions particularly focused on chronic disease prevention and management for African American men and women during midlife to attempt to delay the onset or impede the progression of mobility problems that will likely become exacerbated in late life and severely affect the quality of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1258-1263
Number of pages6
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Volume66 A
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • African Americans
  • Health disparities
  • Late-life function
  • Mobility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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