Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Journal of Aging Research
Volume 2014, Article ID 198603, 8 pages
Research Article

Prevalence of Frailty Indicators and Association with Socioeconomic Status in Middle-Aged and Older Adults in a Swiss Region with Universal Health Insurance Coverage: A Population-Based Cross-Sectional Study

1Unit of Population Epidemiology, Division of Primary Care Medicine, Department of Community Medicine, Primary Care, and Emergency Medicine, Geneva University Hospitals, 4 Rue Gabrielle-Perret-Gentil, 1211 Geneva 14, Switzerland
2Community Prevention Unit, University Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, 10 Route de la Corniche, 1010 Lausanne, Switzerland
3Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, 1518 Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA
4Birmingham/Atlanta Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center, Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 1670 Clairmont Road, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA
5Department of Medicine, Emory University, 1518 Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA

Received 25 July 2014; Revised 29 September 2014; Accepted 1 October 2014; Published 22 October 2014

Academic Editor: Jack Cannon

Copyright © 2014 Idris Guessous 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.


Frailty prevalence in older adults has been reported but is largely unknown in middle-aged adults. We determined the prevalence of frailty indicators among middle-aged and older adults from a general Swiss population characterized by universal health insurance coverage and assessed the determinants of frailty with a special focus on socioeconomic status. Participants aged 50 and more from the population-based 2006–2010 Bus Santé study were included ( = 2,930). Four frailty indicators (weakness, shrinking, exhaustion, and low activity) were measured according to standard definitions. Multivariate logistic regressions were used to determine associations. Overall, 63.5%, 28.7%, and 7.8% participants presented no frailty indicators, one frailty indicator, and two or more frailty indicators, respectively. Among middle-aged participants (50–65 years), 75.1%, 22.2%, and 2.7% presented 0, 1, and 2 or more frailty indicators. The number of frailty indicators was positively associated with age, hypertension, and current smoking and negatively associated with male gender, body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio, and serum total cholesterol level. Lower income level but not education was associated with higher number of frailty indicators. Frailty indicators are frequently encountered in both older and middle-aged adults from the Swiss general population. Despite universal health insurance coverage, household income is independently associated with frailty.