Perceived walking speed, measured tandem walk, incident stroke, and mortality in older latino adults: A prospective cohort study

Adina Zeki Al Hazzouri, Elizabeth Rose Mayeda, Tali Elfassy, Anne Lee, Michelle C. Odden, Divya Thekkethala, Clinton B. Wright, Maria M. Glymour, Mary N. Haan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Walking speed is associated with functional status and all-cause mortality. Yet the relationship between walking speed and stroke, also a leading cause of disability, remains poorly understood, especially in older Latino adults who suffer from a significant burden of stroke. Methods: A total of 1,486 stroke-free participants from the Sacramento Area Latino Study on Aging, aged 60 and older at baseline in 1998-1999, were followed annually through 2010. Participants reported their usual walking speed outdoors which was classified into slow, medium, or fast. We also assessed timed tandem walk ability (unable or eight or more errors vs less than eight errors). We ascertained three incident stroke endpoints: total stroke, nonfatal stroke, and fatal stroke. Using Cox proportional hazards models, we estimated hazard ratios (HRs) for stroke at different walking speed and timed tandem walk categories. Results: Over an average of 6 years of follow-up (SD = 2.8), the incidence rate of total strokes was 23.2/1,000 person-years for slow walkers compared to 15.6/1,000 person-years for medium walkers, and 7.6/1,000 person-years for fast walkers. In Cox models adjusted for sociodemographics, cardiovascular risk, cognition and functional status, and self-rated health, the hazard of total stroke was 31% lower for medium walkers (HR: 0.69, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.47, 1.02) and 56% lower for fast walkers (HR: 0.44, 95% CI: 0.24, 0.82) compared with slow walkers. We found similar associations with timed tandem walk ability (fully adjusted HR: 0.66, 95% CI: 0.45, 0.98). Conclusions: Our findings suggest perceived walking speed captures more than self-rated health alone and is a strong risk factor for stroke risk in Latino older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)676-682
Number of pages7
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2017


  • Epidemiology
  • Minority aging
  • Physical function
  • Stroke
  • Walking speed

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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