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Body composition explains sex differential in physical performance among older adults.
J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2014 Jan; 69(1):93-100.JG

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Older women have higher percent body fat, poorer physical function, lower strength, and higher rates of nonfatal chronic conditions than men. We sought to determine whether these differences explained physical performance differences between men and women.

METHODS

Physical performance was assessed in the Health, Aging and Body Composition study in 2,863 men and women aged 70-79 with a composite 0-4 point score consisting of chair stands, standing balance including one-leg stand, and 6-m usual and narrow walk tests. Total body composition was measured by dual x-ray absorptiometry, thigh composition by computed tomography, and knee extensor strength by isokinetic dynamometer. Analysis of covariance estimated least square mean performance scores for men and women.

RESULTS

Men had higher performance scores than women (least square means: 2.33±0.02 vs 2.03±0.02, p < .0001), adjusted for race, study site, age, and height. Body composition measures (total body fat and thigh muscle area, muscle density, subcutaneous fat, and intermuscular fat) accounted for differences between men and women (least square means: 2.15±0.02 vs 2.17±0.02, p = .53). Higher strength in men partly explained the sex difference (least square means: 2.28±0.02 vs 2.12±0.02, p < .0001). Strength attenuated the association of thigh muscle mass with performance. Chronic health conditions did not explain the sex difference.

CONCLUSIONS

In a well-functioning cohort, poorer physical function in women compared with men can be explained predominantly by their higher fat mass, but also by other body composition differences. The higher proportion of body fat in women may put them at significant biomechanical disadvantage for greater disability in old age.

Authors+Show Affiliations

MS, 130 North Bellefield Avenue, Suite 500, Pittsburgh, PA 15213. lisa.ajt@gmail.com.No affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Comparative Study
Journal Article
Multicenter Study
Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

23682159

Citation

Tseng, Lisa A., et al. "Body Composition Explains Sex Differential in Physical Performance Among Older Adults." The Journals of Gerontology. Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, vol. 69, no. 1, 2014, pp. 93-100.
Tseng LA, Delmonico MJ, Visser M, et al. Body composition explains sex differential in physical performance among older adults. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2014;69(1):93-100.
Tseng, L. A., Delmonico, M. J., Visser, M., Boudreau, R. M., Goodpaster, B. H., Schwartz, A. V., Simonsick, E. M., Satterfield, S., Harris, T., & Newman, A. B. (2014). Body composition explains sex differential in physical performance among older adults. The Journals of Gerontology. Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 69(1), 93-100. https://doi.org/10.1093/gerona/glt027
Tseng LA, et al. Body Composition Explains Sex Differential in Physical Performance Among Older Adults. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2014;69(1):93-100. PubMed PMID: 23682159.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Body composition explains sex differential in physical performance among older adults. AU - Tseng,Lisa A, AU - Delmonico,Matthew J, AU - Visser,Marjolein, AU - Boudreau,Robert M, AU - Goodpaster,Bret H, AU - Schwartz,Ann V, AU - Simonsick,Eleanor M, AU - Satterfield,Suzanne, AU - Harris,Tamara, AU - Newman,Anne B, Y1 - 2013/05/16/ PY - 2013/5/18/entrez PY - 2013/5/18/pubmed PY - 2014/2/5/medline KW - Body composition KW - Epidemiology. KW - Physical performance SP - 93 EP - 100 JF - The journals of gerontology. Series A, Biological sciences and medical sciences JO - J. Gerontol. A Biol. Sci. Med. Sci. VL - 69 IS - 1 N2 - BACKGROUND: Older women have higher percent body fat, poorer physical function, lower strength, and higher rates of nonfatal chronic conditions than men. We sought to determine whether these differences explained physical performance differences between men and women. METHODS: Physical performance was assessed in the Health, Aging and Body Composition study in 2,863 men and women aged 70-79 with a composite 0-4 point score consisting of chair stands, standing balance including one-leg stand, and 6-m usual and narrow walk tests. Total body composition was measured by dual x-ray absorptiometry, thigh composition by computed tomography, and knee extensor strength by isokinetic dynamometer. Analysis of covariance estimated least square mean performance scores for men and women. RESULTS: Men had higher performance scores than women (least square means: 2.33±0.02 vs 2.03±0.02, p < .0001), adjusted for race, study site, age, and height. Body composition measures (total body fat and thigh muscle area, muscle density, subcutaneous fat, and intermuscular fat) accounted for differences between men and women (least square means: 2.15±0.02 vs 2.17±0.02, p = .53). Higher strength in men partly explained the sex difference (least square means: 2.28±0.02 vs 2.12±0.02, p < .0001). Strength attenuated the association of thigh muscle mass with performance. Chronic health conditions did not explain the sex difference. CONCLUSIONS: In a well-functioning cohort, poorer physical function in women compared with men can be explained predominantly by their higher fat mass, but also by other body composition differences. The higher proportion of body fat in women may put them at significant biomechanical disadvantage for greater disability in old age. SN - 1758-535X UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/23682159/Body_composition_explains_sex_differential_in_physical_performance_among_older_adults_ L2 - https://academic.oup.com/biomedgerontology/article-lookup/doi/10.1093/gerona/glt027 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -