The Framingham risk score is associated with incident frailty, or is it?

Hui Shi, Mei Ling Ge, Birong Dong, Qian Li Xue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Backgrounds: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors are individually associated with frailty. This study examined whether Framingham CVD risk score (FRS) as an aggregate measure of CVD risk is associated with incident frailty among Chinese older adults. Methods: This study used data from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study. A sample of 3,618 participants aged 60 to 95 years and without CVD at baseline were followed for four years. FRS was calculated at baseline. Frailty status was defined as not-frail (0–2 criteria) or frail (3–5 criteria) based on the physical frailty phenotype consisting of five binary criteria (weakness, slowness, exhaustion, low activity level, and weight loss). After excluding subjects who were frail (n = 248) at baseline, discrete-time Cox regression was used to evaluate the relationship between FRS and incident frailty. Results: During a median follow-up of 4.0 years, 323 (8 %) participants developed CVD and 318 (11 %) subjects had frailty onset. Higher FRS was associated with greater risk of incident frailty (HR: 1.03, 95 % CI: 1.00 to 1.06) after adjusting for education, marital status, obesity, comorbidity burden, and cognitive function. This association however was no longer significant (HR: 1.00, 95 % CI: 0.97 to 1.03) after additionally adjusting for age. These findings remained essentially unchanged after excluding subjects with depression (n = 590) at baseline or incident CVD (n = 323) during the 4-year follow-up. Conclusions: The FRS was not independently associated with incident frailty after adjusting for chronological age. More research is needed to assess the clinical utility of the FRS in predicting adverse health outcomes other than CVD in older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number448
JournalBMC geriatrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cohort study
  • Frailty
  • Framingham risk score

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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