Frailty and its contributory factors in older adults: A comparison of two Asian Regions (Hong Kong and Taiwan)

Ruby Yu, Wan Chi Wu, Jason Leung, Susan C. Hu, Jean Woo

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26 Citations (Scopus)


This study aimed to compare the prevalence of frailty across three Chinese populations: Hong Kong, Taiwan-urban and Taiwan-rural. Contributing factors to disparities in frailty were also examined. Data were derived from the Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOs) and Women (MsOs) (Hong Kong) Study (n = 4000) and the Taiwan Longitudinal Study on Aging (n = 2392). Frailty was defined as an index calculated from 30 multiple deficits. The ratio of the frailty index to life expectancy at birth (FI/LE) was used as an indicator of compression of morbidity. Frailty was more prevalent in Taiwan-urban (33.1%) and Taiwan-rural (38.1%) compared to Hong Kong (16.6%, p < 0.05) and was higher in women (22.6-49.7%) than in men (10.5-27.5%, p < 0.05). The ratios of FI/LE were higher in Taiwan-urban and Taiwan-rural (both 0.27) compared to Hong Kong (0.20, p < 0.05). Multivariate analyses revealed that older age, being a woman and low levels of physical activity were common risk factors for frailty across the three populations. Alcohol use was inversely associated with frailty in both Hong Kong and Taiwan-urban populations, but not in Taiwan-rural. Living alone was associated with frailty in Hong Kong men, but not in Hong Kong women or Taiwanese people. For all study populations, older age and being a woman constituted the highest attributable factor. This comparison provides useful data to inform government policies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1096
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Oct

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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