Since the beginning of this century life-expectancy has increased by several decades. In 1990 newborn boys and girls in the Netherlands had a life-expectancy of 73 and 78 years respectively, compared to 51 years for boys and 53 years for girls born in 1910. The consequences are twofold. Firstly, with stable birthrates the elderly become an ever-larger proportion of the population. Secondly with the improvement of health care which can prevent premature death, the number of elderly people with chronic disease and disability steadily grows. Little is known about the burden of this on the health care system and on society as a whole, In a few countries some aspects of chronic disease and disability have been studied. From 1986 to 1988 the Netherlands Central Bureau of Statistics studied physical disability in the Dutch population. Disability was defined as difficulties in some activities of daily living as a result of some underlying impairment. At present no data are available on disability in the population at large, regardless of its cause. Disability can result from a wide array of organ impairments. A major organ of interest is the locomotor apparatus and more specifically the lower limbs. Locomotor disability is then defined as the amount of difficulty a person experiences when walking, climbing stairs, rising from a chair or bed or otherwise.

elderly, locomotor disability, orthopedics, rheumatology
A. Hofman (Albert) , H.A. Valkenburg (Hans)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Odding, E. (1994, October 19). Locomotor disability in the elderly : an epidemiological study of its occurrence and determinants in a general population of 55 years and over : the Rotterdam study. Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from