Functional capacity and associated factors were studied in 321 men from eastern Finland and 395 men from southwestern Finland in connection with the 25-year follow-up survey of the East-West Study. The survey was carried out in autumn 1984, when the men were 65-84 years of age. In the measurement of different activities of daily living, 55 to 95% in the east and 62 to 97% in the south-west reported that they managed daily activities without another person's help. Both the mean age of the men and the mean of the sum index of functional capacity as stratified by age were in southwestern Finland significantly higher than in eastern Finland. Older age groups had lower functional capacity in both areas. Lowered functional capacity was associated with cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus and impairments of vision in both areas, and with impairments of the locomotor system in the south-west. High pulmonary function was associated with high functional capacity. No connection was found between smoking and functional capacity, but heavier alcohol and coffee consumption were associated with high functional capacity.