Background: Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) have experienced a rapid increase in their proportion of older people. This region is marked by a high prevalence of chronic diseases and disabilities among aging adults. Frailty appears in the context of LAC negatively affecting quality of life among many older people.
Aim: To investigate the prevalence of frailty among community-dwelling older people in LAC through a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Methods: A literature search was performed in indexed databases and in the grey literature. Studies investigating the prevalence of frailty with representative samples of community-dwelling older people in Latin America and the Caribbean were retrieved. Independent investigators carried out the study selection process and the data extraction. A meta-analysis and meta-regression were performed using STATA 11 software. The systematic review was registered at the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews under the number CRD42014015203.
Results: A total of 29 studies and 43,083 individuals were included in the systematic review. The prevalence of frailty was 19.6% (95% CI: 15.4-24.3%) in the investigated region, with a range of 7.7% to 42.6% in the studies reviewed. The year of data collection influenced the heterogeneity between the studies.
Conclusion: Frailty is very common among older people in LAC. As a result, countries in the region need to adapt their health and social care systems to demands of an older population.