Background: To develop a prediction model that predicts disability in community-dwelling older people. Insight in the predictors of disability is needed to target preventive strategies for people at increased risk. Methods. Data were obtained from the Rotterdam Study, including subjects of 55 years and over. Subjects who had complete data for sociodemographic factors, life style variables, health conditions, disability status at baseline and complete data for disability at follow-up were included in the analysis. Disability was expressed as a Disability Index (DI) measured with the Health Assessment Questionnaire. We used a multivariable polytomous logistic regression to derive a basic prediction model and an extended prediction model. Finally we developed readily applicable score charts for the calculation of outcome probabilities. Results: Of the 5027 subjects included, 49% had no disability, 18% had mild disability, 16% had severe disability and 18% had deceased at follow-up after six years. The strongest predictors were age and prior disability. The contribution of other predictors was relatively small. The discriminative ability of the basic model was high; the extended model did not enhance predictive ability. Conclusion: As prior disability status predicts future disability status, interventive strategies should be aimed at preventing disability in the first place.

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Keywords disability, older people, prediction model, prospective cohort
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Journal BMC Geriatrics
Taş, U, Steyerberg, E.W, Bierma-Zeinstra, S.M, Hofman, A, Koes, B.W, & Verhagen, A.P. (2011). Age, gender and disability predict future disability in older people: The Rotterdam Study. BMC Geriatrics, 11. doi:10.1186/1471-2318-11-22