A simple 10-second balance test for people over 50 shows whether their chances of dying from any cause double, an Australian study has suggested.
A simple 10-second balance test for people over 50 shows whether their chances of dying from any cause will double in the next decade, an Australian study has suggested.
Research from the University of Sydney showed that those who had difficulty standing on one leg for 10 seconds had a higher risk of dying early.
The study authors have called for the test to be part of a routine health check-up for older adults.
Participants were asked to place the front of their free foot on the back of the opposite lower leg while keeping their arms at their sides and looking straight ahead.
“The availability of simple, inexpensive, reliable, and safe balance assessment tools that could help predict survival would potentially be beneficial to health professionals evaluating and treating older adults,” the study said.
The study involved 1,702 participants between the ages of 51 and 75. Two thirds of the cohort were men.
According to researchers, about one in five people (348) in the group failed the balance test.
The researchers said those who failed generally had poorer health, with a higher proportion being considered obese or classified as having heart disease, high blood pressure and unhealthy blood lipid profiles.
The study, which was peer-reviewed and published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, also found that type 2 diabetes was three times more likely to occur in people who failed.
Patients unable to stand on one leg unaided for 10 seconds were associated with an 84 percent increased risk of death from any cause over the next decade.
The proportion of deaths among those who failed the test was significantly higher, at 17.5 percent versus 4.5 percent, according to researchers.
“Each year, an estimated 684,000 people die from falls worldwide, with more than 80 percent in low- and middle-income countries,” the study said.
“Although it is known that a good level of balance is relevant to many activities of daily living, there is considerable evidence that a loss of balance is also detrimental to health and that some exercise interventions can improve balance.
“In our 13-year clinical experience of routinely using the 10-s OLS static balance test in adults across a wide age range and clinical conditions, the test was remarkably safe, well-received by participants, and most importantly, easy to integrate in our routine practice as it takes less than a minute or two to apply. “
Originally published as a University of Sydney study, the 10-Second Balance Test claims whether you will die young