The aim was to examine the association of objective measures of physical functioning (PF) with education and material circumstances and the decline in PF with age by socioeconomic position (SEP).
In 3,205 subjects (60–75 years) from the Czech Republic, we assessed relationship between PF, SEP, and age. Linear regression was used to assess PF measures and SEP measures.
Cross-sectional decline in PF by age was similar in all individuals. Differences between SEP groups were similar across age groups, except for the difference in walk speed by material circumstances in men—bigger at older ages (p = .004). Men and women with the highest education were about 2 s faster at the chair rise test than those with the lowest education.
Findings suggest strong educational gradient in PF, an inconsistent role of self-assessed material circumstances, and virtually no interaction of SEP with the cross-sectional decline in PF by age.