Introduction: The purpose of the study is to determine if functional status and quality of life (QoL) vary with glomerular filtration rate (GFR) among older adults. Methods: We studied adults aged 45 years and older participating in the REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) cohort study. Data included demographic and health information, serum creatinine and hemoglobin, the 4-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D-4), the 4-item Cohen's Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-4), reported health status and inactivity and the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-12 (SF-12) QoL scores. Results: CKD (GFR <60 ml/min/1.73 m2) was present in 11.6% of the subjects. As GFR declined, the SF-12 physical component score, adjusted for other participant attributes, declined from 38.9 to 35.9 (p = 0.0001). After adjustment for other risk factors, poorer personal health scores (p < 0.0001) and decreased physical activity (p < 0.0001) were reported as GFR declined. In contrast, after adjusting for other participant characteristics, depression scores and stress scores and the mental component score of the SF-12 were not associated with kidney function. Conclusion: Older individuals with CKD in the US population experience an increased prevalence of impaired QoL that cannot be fully explained by other individual characteristics. Copyright © 2010 S. Karger AG, Basel.