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Functionality as a measure of health would appear to be more straightforward to assess than health-related quality of life (HRQL) (see Quality of life measures), but this is not necessarily the case. The range of social contexts and the existence of culture differences represent and are reflected in different challenges presented to the human body, and this in turn affects the ways in which health functionality can be and is assessed.

One widely used measure of functionality seeks to assess the performance of an individual in relation to what are termed ‘activities of daily living’ (ADLs). ADLs are essentially a list of everyday activities which involve both physical capacities (walking, holding, seeing, hearing, mobility, climbing stairs, etc.) and social capacities (cooking, driving, managing finances, etc.). This ...

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