TitleA Modified Healthy Aging Index and Its Association with Mortality: The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999-2002.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsWu, C, Smit, E, Sanders, JL, Newman, AB, Odden, MC
JournalJ Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci
Date Published2017 Jan 20

Background: Comorbidity indices that are based on clinically recognized disease do not capture the full spectrum of health. The Healthy Aging Index (HAI) was recently developed to describe a wider range of health and disease across multiple organ systems. We characterized the distribution of a modified HAI (mHAI) by sociodemographics in a representative sample of the U.S. population. We also examined the association of the mHAI with mortality across individuals with different levels of clinically recognizable comorbidities.

Methods: Data are from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1999-2000, 2001-2002) on 2,451 adults aged 60 years or older. Five mHAI components (systolic blood pressure, Digit Symbol Substitution Test, cystatin C, glucose, and respiratory problems) were scored 0 (healthiest), 1, or 2 (unhealthiest) by sex-specific tertiles or clinically relevant cutoffs and summed to construct the mHAI.

Results: The mean mHAI score was 4.3; 20.6% had a score of 0-2. 33.2% had a score of 3-4, 31.0% had a score of 5-6, and 15.2% had a score of 7-10. Mean mHAI scores were lower in adults who were younger, non-Hispanic whites, more educated, and married/living with partner. After multivariate adjustment, per unit higher of the mHAI was associated with higher all-cause mortality (HR = 1.19, 95% CI = 1.11-1.27) and higher cardiovascular mortality (HR = 1.23, 95% CI = 1.11-1.35). Within each comorbidity category (0, 1, 2, 3, 4+), the mHAI was still widely distributed and further stratified mortality.

Conclusions: Substantial variation exists in the mHAI across sociodemographic subgroups. The mHAI could provide incremental value for mortality risk prediction beyond clinically diagnosed chronic diseases among elders.

Alternate JournalJ. Gerontol. A Biol. Sci. Med. Sci.
PubMed ID28329253