Walking speed as an aging biomarker in baboons (Papio hamadryas)

Hillary F. Huber, Kenneth G. Gerow, Peter W. Nathanielsz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Walking speed is an important human aging biomarker. Baboons are valuable translational models for aging studies. Establishing whether walking speed is a good aging biomarker has value. We hypothesized there would be characteristic age-related decline in baboon walking speed. Methods: We studied 33 female baboons aged 5-21 years. Walking speed was calculated by the time to walk between landmarks separated by known distances. A regression model was developed to describe the relationship between speed, age, and body weight. Results: Speed negatively associated with age, a relationship enhanced by increased weight (P < 0.0005). For 16-kg animals, speed declined approximately 0.6 cm/s yearly. For each additional kilogram of weight, speed declined an additional 0.3 cm/s yearly. Conclusions: Baboon walking speed declines with age, an effect modulated by weight. Ease of measurement and strong age association make walking speed a valuable biomarker for aging research with this important experimental species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-380
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of medical primatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Age-related decline
  • Gait speed
  • Non-human primates
  • Physical mobility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)


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