J Korean Acad Rehabil Med.  2007 Aug;31(4):457-465.

The Effect of Age and Gender in Physical Function and Quality of Life in Korean Elderly: The Korean Longitudinal Study on Health and Aging

  • 1Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Bundang Hospital, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Korea. drlim1@snu.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, Bundang Hospital, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Korea.


To investigate the physical function of Korean elderly by age and gender and to assess the impact of declined physical function on their quality of life. METHOD: The Korean Longitudinal Study on Health and Aging (KLoSHA) is designed as a populationbased prospective cohort study on health and aging of Korean elderly aged 65 years and over. In one city among the central metropolitan area for one year, 1,000 subjects includeing a simple random sample and an oldest-old subpopulation participated in baseline study. All subjects are older than 65 years (76.3+/-14.8, 65~98 years). We surveyed their general characteristics and symptoms related physical function and examined physical function, functional disabilities, balance function and quality of life with standardized assessment tools.
The strengths of quadriceps were preserved over the functional level, but BMI was significantly reduced according to age irrespective of sex. Physical function and quality of life were consistently decreased according to age in female elderly, especially over 80 years. On the contrary, male elderly under 85 years preserved their physical function. In 85~89 year group, they showed the remarkable disabilities related to musculoskeletal conditions or pain and decrease of balance. Elderly people had greater disabilities and lesser confidence for balance, lower quality of life irrespective of sex.
Significant gender differences in Korean elderly were found in the patterns of functional decline. Physical dysfunctions and disabilities are main factors lowering quality of life.


Physical function; Gender difference; Age

MeSH Terms

Cohort Studies
Longitudinal Studies*
Prospective Studies
Quality of Life*
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