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Sarcopenic obesity and falls in the elderly

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journal contribution
posted on 01.03.2018, 00:00 authored by Julie PascoJulie Pasco, Sophia Sui, Monica Chimwemwe Tembo, Kara KewKara Kew, Pamela Godspower Rufus, Mark KotowiczMark Kotowicz
Background: Sarcopenic obesity refers to age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass and function, in the face of obesity. We aimed to examine the association of falls with sarcopenic obesity and its components, among elderly individuals in the population.
Methods: Participants were 353 men and 245 women aged 65-98 yr of the Geelong Osteoporosis Study. Body fat and lean mass were measured using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry; body fat mass was expressed as a percentage of weight (�) and appendicular lean mass was adjusted for height (rALM, kg/m2). Poor physical performance was assessed using the timed up-&-go (TUG) test. Sarcopenic obesity referred to low-rALM (Tscore<- 1), poor physical performance (TUG>10 s) and obesity (� >25% for men, >35% for women). Fallers were identified by self-report as having had at least one fall in the previous 12 mo. Associations between sarcopenic obesity (and its components) and falls were determined using logistic regression after adjusting for age and sex.
Results: In total, 219 (36.6%) had low-rALM, 205 (34.2%) had poor physical performance, 466 (77.9%) were obese and 69 (11.5%) had all three thereby meeting our criteria for sarcopenic obesity. There were 170 (28.4%) fallers; falls were more common for those with sarcopenic obesity than without (28 (40.6%) vs 142 (26.8%); p=0.017). The likelihood of a fall in association with sarcopenic obesity and its components were: sarcopenic obesity OR=1.65 (95%CI 0.96-2.85), sarcopenia OR=1.52 (0.93-2.47), poor physical performance and obesity OR=1.74 (1.16-2.61), low-rALM OR=1.41 (0.96-2.06), poor physical performance OR=1.88 (1.26-2.80), obesity OR=0.88 (0.57-1.35).
Conclusion: While obesity per se was not associated with falls, there was an increased risk of falls individuals with sarcopenic obesity that was of borderline statistical significance and this appears to be largely a consequence of poor physical performance.



Journal of gerontology and geriatric research





Article number



1 - 4


Omics Publishing Group


Hyderabad, India





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2018, Pasco JA, et al.