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OBJECTIVES: Adapt a measure of frailty for use in a cohort study of European men and explore relationships with age, health related quality of life and falls. DESIGN: Longitudinal cohort study. SETTING: 8 European centers. PARTICIPANTS: 3047 men aged 40-79 participating in the European Male Ageing Study (EMAS). MEASUREMENTS: Frailty was assessed using an adaptation of the Cardiovascular Health Study criteria. Health related quality of life was evaluated using the Rand Short Form-36 (SF-36) questionnaire which comprises both mental and physical component scores. Self reported falls in the preceding 12 months were recorded at 2-year follow-up. RESULTS: 78 men (2.6%) were classified as frail (≥3 criteria) and 821 (26.9%) as prefrail (1-2 criteria). The prevalence of frailty increased from 0.1% in men aged 40-49 up to 6.8% in men aged 70-79. Compared to robust men, both prefrail and frail men had lower health related quality of life. Frailty was more strongly associated with the physical than mental subscales of the SF-36. Frailty was associated with higher risk of falls OR (95% CI) 2.92 (1.52, 5.59). CONCLUSIONS: Frailty, assessed by the EMAS criteria, increased in prevalence with age and was related to poorer health related quality of life and higher risk of falls in middle-aged and older European men. These criteria may help to identify a vulnerable subset of older men.

Original publication




Journal article


J frailty aging

Publication Date





77 - 83