In 2011, Stefanie Studenski presented her data on the powerful prediction of slow gait speed as an independent risk factor for mortality. This landmark paper raised the awareness of almost all disciplines in medicine and allied healthcare professionals to measure gait speed and develop a different perspective on physical mobility. This paper is also part of the genes of the IMI call leading to the Mobilise-D consortium. Building further on Studentski’s paper, we also learned about the mean and maximum walking speed of the Grim Reaper – handy to know if you want to stay ahead of Death.
Now, about a decade later, Paluch and co-workers published a new meta-analysis that is looking at gait volume, that is, number of steps and cadence, to predict mortality. This pivotal paper will have many implications and is another milestone to show that digital biomarkers of mobility are essential for clinical counseling, trial design, and regulatory decisions. The main results indicate that recommendations for goal setting must be reanalyzed and should be adjusted for age. Furthermore, the current approaches to use cadence as an indicator of walking intensity are questionable and must be considered with caution. Given the WHO and ACSM recommendations on physical activity, it should be discussed whether step counts and other sensor-based measures should replace self-reported walking duration and intensity. The debate is open.
The paper “Daily steps and all-cause mortality: a meta-analysis of 15 international cohorts” by Paluch et al. strengthens the Digital Mobility Outcomes position for Mobilise-D. You can read the paper here!