Predictors of mortality in 2,249 nonagenarians - The Danish 1905-cohort survey

Hanne Nybo, Hans Chr Petersen, David Gaist, Bernard Jeune, Kjeld Andersen, Matt McGue, James W. Vaupel, Kaare Christensen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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OBJECTIVES: To elucidate whether well-known predictions of mortality are reduced or even reversed, or whether mortality is a stochastic process in the oldest old. DESIGN: A multidimensional survey of the Danish 1905 cohort conducted in 1998 with follow-up of vital status after 15 months. SETTING: Denmark. PARTICIPANTS: All Danes born in 1905, irrespective of physical and mental status were approached. Two thousand two hundred sixty-two persons of 3,600 participated in this survey. MEASUREMENTS: Professional interviewers collected data concerning sociodemographic factors, smoking, alcohol consumption, body mass index, physical and cognitive performance, and health during a visit at the participant's residency. Cox regression models were used to evaluate predictors of mortality. RESULTS: Five hundred seventy-nine (25.7%) of the 2,249 participants eligible for the analysis died during the 15 months follow-up. Multivariate analyses showed that marital status, education, smoking, obesity, consumption of alcohol, and number of self-reported diseases were not associated with mortality. Disability and cognitive impairment were significant risk factors in men and women. In addition poor self-rated health was associated with an increase in mortality in women. CONCLUSION: In the oldest old, several known predictors of mortality, such as sociodemographic factors, smoking, and obesity, have lost their importance, but a high disability level, poor physical and cognitive performance, and self-rated health (women only), predict mortality, which shows that mortality in the oldest old is not a stochastic process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1365-1373
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2003


  • Aged 80 and older
  • Functional status
  • Mortality
  • Nonagenarians
  • Predictors


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