Obesity, Muscular Strength, Muscle Composition and Physical Performance in an Elderly Population.J Nutr Health Aging. 2015 Aug; 19(7):785-91.JN
To evaluate the association between BMI levels, muscular strength, muscle composition and physical performance in the elderly.
Italians subjects from the Progetto Veneto Anziani (ProVA) study were analyzed.
The ProVa was a population study focused on chronic diseases and functional limitations in Italian subjects aged ≥65 years living in two Northeast Italian cities.
The ProVa study included 3099 subjects. ProVa participants with unknown information on BMI or disability status were excluded. The final sample was thus represented by 1.188 men, and 1.723 women.
Physical performance was measured with the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) and leg muscular strength with dynamometry. Fat distribution and skeletal muscle composition were measured in an abdominal single-scan magnetic resonance (MRI) in a randomly selected sample of 348 subjects. Study population was stratified by BMI classes.
An association between BMI levels and SPPB was observed. Normal weight subjects showed the best SPPB scores (8.29±0.03), with significant differences compared to underweight (7.50±0.15; p<0.001), overweight (8.12±0.02; p<0.001), class I (7.72±0.04; p<0.001), class II (6.67±0.09; p<0.001) and class III obesity (5.88±0.24; p<0.001). This pattern was not modified by adjustment for possible confounders. Compared to normal weight subjects (22.9±0.1 kg), leg muscular strength was higher in overweight (23.8±0.1; p<0.001) and in class I obesity (24.5±0.1; p<0.001), but it was reduced in class II (21.4±0.3; p<0.001) and class III (19.8±0.9; p<0.001). The association between BMI and impaired physical performance was not affected by adjustment for muscular strength. An inverse association between SPPB scores and fat infiltration in skeletal muscle was observed in patients with abdominal MRI.
A poor physical performance was observed in overweight and obese elderly subjects. Leg strength was reduced only in subjects with severe obesity. Physical performance was negatively influenced by the degree of fat infiltration in skeletal muscle.