People who cannot stand on one leg for ten seconds are twice as likely to die early, a study warns.
Failing the test in middle-age can mean you are overweight, unhealthy or frail – and your health will go downhill faster.
Researchers called for it to be included in health checks after finding one in five over-50s could not hold the flamingo stance – with failure rates rocketing with older age.
Just 4.5% of people who passed the test died with in the next seven years, compared to 17.5% of those who toppled.
Researchers say fallers were 84% more likely to die in the 10 years that followed. Some 1,702 adults were studied in Rio de Janeiro from 2009 to 2020. While 95% in their early 50s passed, that fell to just 46% for ages 71 – 75. The risk of failing roughly doubled every five years.
People who could not hold the position were more likely to be obese or have heart disease, high blood pressureor type 2 diabetes. Doctors can now use the test to identify those weaker and likelier to have fatal falls or disease.
Dr Claudio Gil Araujo, from the Clinimex exercise medicine centre in Brazil, said; “This simple and inexpensive balance assessment could help predict survivial and benefit health professionals evaluating and treating older adults.
“Ageing is associated with a decline in physical fitness and muscle strength, power, flexibility and balance are detrimental for health, making older adults with frailty more prone to falls and other serious medical events.”