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Associations Between Factors Across Life and One-Legged Balance Performance in Mid and Later Life: Evidence From a British Birth Cohort Study

Blodgett, JM; Cooper, R; Davis, DHJ; Kuh, D; Hardy, R; (2020) Associations Between Factors Across Life and One-Legged Balance Performance in Mid and Later Life: Evidence From a British Birth Cohort Study. Frontiers in Sports and Active Living , 2 , Article 28. 10.3389/fspor.2020.00028. Green open access

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Despite its associations with falls, disability, and mortality, balance is an under-recognized and frequently overlooked aspect of aging. Studies investigating associations between factors across life and balance are limited. Understanding the factors related to balance performance could help identify protective factors and appropriate interventions across the life course. This study aimed to: (i) identify socioeconomic, anthropometric, behavioral, health, and cognitive factors that are associated with one-legged balance performance; and (ii) explore how these associations change with age. METHODS: Data came from 3,111 members of the MRC National Survey of Health and Development, a British birth cohort study. Multilevel models examined how one-legged standing balance times (assessed at ages 53, 60–64, and 69) were associated with 15 factors across life: sex, maternal education (4 years), paternal occupation (4 years), own education (26 years), own occupation (53 years), and contemporaneous measures (53, 60–64, 69 years) of height, BMI, physical activity, smoking, diabetes, respiratory symptoms, cardiovascular events, knee pain, depression and verbal memory. Age and sex interactions with each variable were assessed. RESULTS: Men had 18.8% (95%CI: 13.6, 23.9) longer balance times than women at age 53, although this difference decreased with age (11.8% at age 60–64 and 7.6% at age 69). Disadvantaged socioeconomic position in childhood and adulthood, low educational attainment, less healthy behaviors, poor health status, lower cognition, higher body mass index (BMI), and shorter height were associated with poorer balance at all three ages. For example, at age 53, those from the lowest paternal occupational classes had 29.6% (22.2, 38.8) worse balance than those from the highest classes. Associations of balance with socioeconomic indicators, cognition and physical activity became smaller with age, while associations with knee pain and depression became larger. There were no sex differences in these associations. In a combined model, the majority of factors remained associated with balance. DISCUSSION: This study identified numerous risk factors across life that are associated with one-legged balance performance and highlighted diverse patterns of association with age, suggesting that there are opportunities to intervene in early, mid and later life. A multifactorial approach to intervention, at both societal and individual levels, may have more benefit than focusing on a single risk factor.

Type: Article
Title: Associations Between Factors Across Life and One-Legged Balance Performance in Mid and Later Life: Evidence From a British Birth Cohort Study
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3389/fspor.2020.00028
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3389/fspor.2020.00028
Language: English
Additional information: © 2020 Blodgett, Cooper, Davis, Kuh and Hardy. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Keywords: Balance, aging, life course, risk factor, epidemiology
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Population Science and Experimental Medicine
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Population Science and Experimental Medicine > MRC Unit for Lifelong Hlth and Ageing
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10095191
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