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Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 2018507, 6 pages
Research Article

The Association between Different Levels of Alcohol Use and Gait under Single and Dual Task in Community-Dwelling Older Persons Aged 65 to 70 Years

1Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, Route de la Corniche 10, 1010 Lausanne, Switzerland
2Service of Geriatric Medicine and Geriatric Rehabilitation, Department of Medicine, Lausanne University Hospital, Rue du Bugnon 46, 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland

Received 4 March 2016; Revised 4 June 2016; Accepted 26 June 2016

Academic Editor: Dennis Taaffe

Copyright © 2016 Laurence Seematter-Bagnoud et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objectives. This study aimed to describe the cross-sectional and longitudinal association between alcohol intake and gait parameters in older persons. Methods. Community-dwelling persons aged 65–70 years (). Information on health, functional status, and alcohol use was self-reported at baseline and at 3-year follow-up, whereas gait speed and stride-to-stride variability were measured while walking only (single task) and under dual tasking (counting backwards). Results. Compared to light-to-moderate drinking, heavy drinking was associated with slower gait speed in single task (adj. coeff.: −.040, 95% CI: −.0.78 to −.002, ). No significant association was observed between heavy drinking and gait speed variability. Nondrinkers walked significantly slower than light-to-moderate drinkers in dual task and had significantly higher gait speed variability in both single and dual task, but these associations disappeared after adjustment for comorbidity. At follow-up, 35.2% and 34.1% of the participants walked significantly slower in single and dual task, respectively. This proportion varied a little across drinking categories. Conclusion. At baseline, heavy alcohol consumption was significantly associated with slower gait speed in single task. Selective survival of the fittest heavy drinkers probably explains why this association faded in longitudinal analyses. The trend of poorer gait performance in nondrinkers disappeared after adjustment for comorbidity, suggesting confounding by a worse health status.