Lower levels of serum albumin and total cholesterol associated with decline in activities of daily living and excess mortality in a 12-year cohort study of elderly Japanese

Tomonori Okamura, Takehito Hayakawa, Atsushi Hozawa, Takashi Kadowaki, Yoshitaka Murakami, Yoshikuni Kita, Robert D. Abbott, Akira Okayama, Hirotsugu Ueshima

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OBJECTIVES: To examine the association between levels of serum albumin and total cholesterol (TC) and risk of subsequent mortality and future decline in activities of daily living (ADLs) in elderly people. DESIGN: Population-based cohort study. SETTING: National Integrated Project for Prospective Observation of Non-Communicable Disease and Its Trends in the Aged, 1980. PARTICIPANTS: One thousand eight hundred forty-four Japanese individuals aged 60 to 74 randomly selected throughout Japan and followed for 12.4 years. MEASUREMENTS: Decline in ADLs and mortality. RESULTS: After adjusting for other covariates, the multivariable odds ratios (ORs) of impaired ADLs were highest in the lowest albumin quartile (≤40 g/L) for women. The multivariable OR of having a composite outcome of death or impaired ADL for the lowest albumin quartile compared with the highest was 1.56 (95% confidence interval (CI)=1.94-2.57) for men and 3.06 (95% CI=1.89-4.95) for women. Serum albumin was significantly and inversely associated with a composite outcome of death or impaired ADLs in the group below the median of TC in both sexes (multivariable OR for 1-g/L increase in serum albumin=0.88 for men (95% CI=0.79-0.97) and 0.79 for women (95% CI=0.72-0.87)), which was not significantly associated in the group with TC at or above the median. CONCLUSION: In the Japanese general population, low-normal serum albumin and TC levels are associated with loss of activity during old age, especially for women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)529-535
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Mar
Externally publishedYes



  • Activities of daily living
  • Cholesterol
  • Cohort studies
  • Mortality
  • Serum albumin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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