To investigate the associations of body mass index (BMI) and grip strength with objective measures of physical performance (chair rise time, walking speed and balance) including an assessment of sex differences and non-linearity.
Cross-sectional data from eight UK cohort studies (total N = 16 444) participating in the Healthy Ageing across the Life Course (HALCyon) research programme, ranging in age from 50 to 90+ years at the time of physical capability assessment, were used. Regression models were fitted within each study and meta-analysis methods used to pool regression coefficients across studies and to assess the extent of heterogeneity between studies.
Higher BMI was associated with poorer performance on chair rise (N = 10 773), walking speed (N = 9 761) and standing balance (N = 13 921) tests. Higher BMI was associated with stronger grip strength in men only. Stronger grip strength was associated with better performance on all tests with a tendency for the associations to be stronger in women than men; for example, walking speed was higher by 0.43 cm/s (0.14, 0.71) more per kg in women than men. Both BMI and grip strength remained independently related with performance after mutual adjustment, but there was no evidence of effect modification. Both BMI and grip strength exhibited non-linear relations with performance; those in the lowest fifth of grip strength and highest fifth of BMI having particularly poor performance. Findings were similar when waist circumference was examined in place of BMI.
Older men and women with weak muscle strength and high BMI have considerably poorer performance than others and associations were observed even in the youngest cohort (age 53). Although causality cannot be inferred from observational cross-sectional studies, our findings suggest the likely benefit of early assessment and interventions to reduce fat mass and improve muscle strength in the prevention of future functional limitations.
Good bone and joint health is essential for the physical tasks of daily living and poorer indicators of physical capability in older adults have been associated with increased mortality rates. Genetic variants of indicators of bone and joint health may be associated with measures of physical capability.
As part of the Healthy Ageing across the Life Course (HALCyon) programme, men and women aged between 52 and 90 + years from six UK cohorts were genotyped for a polymorphism associated with serum calcium (rs1801725, CASR), two polymorphisms associated with bone mineral density (BMD) (rs2941740, ESR1 and rs9594759, RANKL) and one associated with osteoarthritis risk rs3815148 (COG5). Meta-analysis was used to pool within-study effects of the associations between each of the polymorphisms and measures of physical capability: grip strength, timed walk or get up and go, chair rises and standing balance.
Few important associations were observed among the several tests. We found that carriers of the serum calcium-raising allele had poorer grip strength compared with non-carriers (pooled p = 0.05, n = 11,239) after adjusting for age and sex. Inconsistent results were observed for the two variants associated with BMD and we found no evidence for an association between rs3815148 (COG5) and any of the physical capability measures.
Our findings suggest elevated serum calcium levels may lead to lower grip strength, though this requires further replication. Our results do not provide evidence for a substantial influence of these variants in ESR1, RANKL and COG5 on physical capability in older adults.
► We examined associations between bone-related genotypes and physical capability. ► We conducted a meta-analysis on 12,836 middle-age adults. ► We found CASR may be associated with grip strength. ► No substantial support for specific bone mineral density variants and physical capability.
BMD, bone mineral density; OA, osteoarthritis; BMI, body mass index; SNP, single nucleotide polymorphism; CaPS, Caerphilly Prospective Study; ELSA, English Longitudinal Study of Ageing; HAS, Hertfordshire Ageing Study; HCS, Hertfordshire Cohort Study; LBC1921, The Lothian Birth Cohort 1921; NSHD, National Survey of Health and Development; HWE, Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium; WHR, waist–hip ratio; GWAS, genome-wide association studies; Aging; Grip strength; Calcium; Bone mineral density; Osteoarthritis
Objective To do a quantitative systematic review, including published and unpublished data, examining the associations between individual objective measures of physical capability (grip strength, walking speed, chair rising, and standing balance times) and mortality in community dwelling populations.
Design Systematic review and meta-analysis.
Data sources Relevant studies published by May 2009 identified through literature searches using Embase (from 1980) and Medline (from 1950) and manual searching of reference lists; unpublished results were obtained from study investigators.
Study selection Eligible observational studies were those done in community dwelling people of any age that examined the association of at least one of the specified measures of physical capability (grip strength, walking speed, chair rises, or standing balance) with mortality.
Data synthesis Effect estimates obtained were pooled by using random effects meta-analysis models with heterogeneity between studies investigated.
Results Although heterogeneity was detected, consistent evidence was found of associations between all four measures of physical capability and mortality; those people who performed less well in these tests were found to be at higher risk of all cause mortality. For example, the summary hazard ratio for mortality comparing the weakest with the strongest quarter of grip strength (14 studies, 53 476 participants) was 1.67 (95% confidence interval 1.45 to 1.93) after adjustment for age, sex, and body size (I2=84.0%, 95% confidence interval 74% to 90%; P from Q statistic <0.001). The summary hazard ratio for mortality comparing the slowest with the fastest quarter of walking speed (five studies, 14 692 participants) was 2.87 (2.22 to 3.72) (I2=25.2%, 0% to 70%; P=0.25) after similar adjustments. Whereas studies of the associations of walking speed, chair rising, and standing balance with mortality have only been done in older populations (average age over 70 years), the association of grip strength with mortality was also found in younger populations (five studies had an average age under 60 years).
Conclusions Objective measures of physical capability are predictors of all cause mortality in older community dwelling populations. Such measures may therefore provide useful tools for identifying older people at higher risk of death.
The association between functioning of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis and physical performance at older ages remains poorly understood. We carried out meta-analyses to test the hypothesis that dysregulation of the HPA axis, as indexed by patterns of diurnal cortisol release, is associated with worse physical performance. Data from six adult cohorts (ages 50–92 years) were included in a two stage meta-analysis of individual participant data. We analysed each study separately using linear and logistic regression models and then used meta-analytic methods to pool the results. Physical performance outcome measures were walking speed, balance time, chair rise time and grip strength. Exposure measures were morning (serum and salivary) and evening (salivary) cortisol. Total sample sizes in meta-analyses ranged from n = 2146 for associations between morning Cortisol Awakening Response and balance to n = 8448 for associations between morning cortisol and walking speed. A larger diurnal drop was associated with faster walking speed (standardised coefficient per SD increase 0.052, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.029, 0.076, p < 0.001; age and gender adjusted) and a quicker chair rise time (standardised coefficient per SD increase −0.075, 95% CI −0.116, −0.034, p < 0.001; age and gender adjusted). There was little evidence of associations with balance or grip strength. Greater diurnal decline of the HPA axis is associated with better physical performance in later life. This may reflect a causal effect of the HPA axis on performance or that other ageing-related factors are associated with both reduced HPA reactivity and performance.
HPA axis; Physical capability; Healthy ageing
To examine the association between aging and physical function in men by testing a theoretically-based model of aging, hormones, body composition, strength, and physical function with data obtained from men enrolled in the Boston Area Community Health/Bone (BACH/Bone) Survey.
Cross-sectional, observational survey.
810 Black, Hispanic, and White Boston randomly-selected men ages of 30–79 y.
Testosterone, estradiol, sex hormone-binding globulin, lean and fat mass, grip strength, and summated index of physical function (derived from walk and chair stand tests).
Measures of grip strength and physical function declined strongly associated with age. For instance, 10 y of aging was associated with a 0.49-point difference (scale: 0–7) in physical function. Age differences in total testosterone and estradiol concentrations were smaller than age differences in their free fractions. Weak or non-significant age-adjusted correlations were observed between hormones and measures of physical function. Path analysis, however, revealed a positive association between testosterone and appendicular lean mass, and a strong negative association between testosterone and total fat mass. Lean and fat mass, in turn, were strongly associated with grip strength and physical function, indicating the possibility of testosterone influencing physical function via indirect associations with body composition.
The age-related decline in serum testosterone concentration in men has a relatively weak association with physical strength and functional outcomes via its associations with lean and fat mass.
aging; androgens; body composition; estrogens; men; physical function; population studies
Several age-related traits are associated with shorter telomeres, the structures that cap the end of linear chromosomes. A common polymorphism near the telomere maintenance gene TERT has been associated with several cancers, but relationships with other ageing traits such as physical capability have not been reported.
As part of the Healthy Ageing across the Life Course (HALCyon) collaborative research programme, men and women aged between 44 and 90 years from 9 UK cohorts were genotyped for the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs401681. We then investigated relationships between the SNP and 30 age-related phenotypes, including cognitive and physical capability, blood lipid levels and lung function, pooling within-study genotypic effects in meta-analyses.
No significant associations were found between the SNP and any of the cognitive performance tests (e.g. pooled beta per T allele for word recall z-score=0.02, 95% CI: -0.01- 0.04, p-value=0.12, n=18,737), physical performance tests (e.g. pooled beta for grip strength=-0.02, 95% CI:-0.045- 0.006, p-value=0.14, n=11,711), blood pressure, lung function or blood test measures. Similarly, no differences in observations were found when considering follow-up measures of cognitive or physical performance after adjusting for its measure at an earlier assessment.
The lack of associations between SNP rs401681 and a wide range of age-related phenotypes investigated in this large multi-cohort study suggests that whilst this SNP may be associated with cancer, it is not an important contributor to other markers of ageing.
Aging; ageing; middle-aged; telomere; cognition; physical
Several age-related traits are associated with shorter telomeres, the structures that cap the end of linear chromosomes. A common polymorphism near the telomere maintenance gene TERT has been associated with several cancers, but relationships with other aging traits such as physical capability have not been reported. As part of the Healthy Ageing across the Life Course (HALCyon) collaborative research programme, men and women aged between 44 and 90 years from nine UK cohorts were genotyped for the single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs401681. We then investigated relationships between the SNP and 30 age-related phenotypes, including cognitive and physical capability, blood lipid levels and lung function, pooling within-study genotypic effects in meta-analyses. No significant associations were found between the SNP and any of the cognitive performance tests (e.g. pooled beta per T allele for word recall z-score = 0.02, 95% CI: −0.01 to 0.04, P-value = 0.12, n = 18 737), physical performance tests (e.g. pooled beta for grip strength = −0.02, 95% CI: −0.045 to 0.006, P-value = 0.14, n = 11 711), blood pressure, lung function or blood test measures. Similarly, no differences in observations were found when considering follow-up measures of cognitive or physical performance after adjusting for its measure at an earlier assessment. The lack of associations between SNP rs401681 and a wide range of age-related phenotypes investigated in this large multicohort study suggests that while this SNP may be associated with cancer, it is not an important contributor to other markers of aging.
aging; cognition; middle-aged; physical; telomere
The glucokinase regulatory protein encoded by GCKR plays an important role in glucose metabolism and a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs1260326 (P446L) in the gene has been associated with several age-related biomarkers, including triglycerides, glucose, insulin and apolipoproteins. However, associations between SNPs in the gene and other ageing phenotypes such as cognitive and physical capability have not been reported.
As part of the Healthy Ageing across the Life Course (HALCyon) collaborative research programme, men and women from five UK cohorts aged between 44 and 90+ years were genotyped for rs1260326. Meta-analysis was used to pool within-study genotypic associations between the SNP and several age-related phenotypes, including body mass index (BMI), blood lipid levels, lung function, and cognitive and physical capability.
We confirm the associations between the minor allele of the SNP and higher triglycerides and lower glucose levels. We also observed a triglyceride-independent association between the minor allele and lower BMI (pooled beta on z-score = −0.04, p-value = 0.0001, n = 16,251). Furthermore, there was some evidence for gene-environment interactions, including physical activity attenuating the effects on triglycerides. However, no associations were observed with measures of cognitive and physical capability.
Findings from middle-aged to older adults confirm associations between rs1260326 GCKR and triglycerides and glucose, suggest possible gene-environment interactions, but do not provide evidence that its relevance extends to cognitive and physical capability.
Physical capability in later life is influenced by factors occurring across the life course, yet exposures to area conditions have only been examined cross-sectionally. Data from the National Survey of Health and Development, a longitudinal study of a 1946 British birth cohort, were used to estimate associations of area deprivation (defined as percentage of employed people working in partly skilled or unskilled occupations) at ages 4, 26, and 53 years (residential addresses linked to census data in 1950, 1972, and 1999) with 3 measures of physical capability at age 53 years: grip strength, standing balance, and chair-rise time. Cross-classified multilevel models with individuals nested within areas at the 3 ages showed that models assessing a single time point underestimate total area contributions to physical capability. For balance and chair-rise performance, associations with area deprivation in midlife were robust to adjustment for individual socioeconomic position and prior area deprivation (mean change for a 1-standard-deviation increase: balance, −7.4% (95% confidence interval (CI): −12.8, −2.8); chair rise, 2.1% (95% CI: −0.1, 4.3)). In addition, area deprivation in childhood was related to balance after adjustment for childhood socioeconomic position (−5.1%, 95% CI: −8.7, −1.6). Interventions aimed at reducing midlife disparities in physical capability should target the socioeconomic environment of individuals—for standing balance, as early as childhood.
geography; Great Britain; health status disparities; longitudinal studies; multilevel analysis; physical endurance; residence characteristics; socioeconomic factors
To test the associations of menopausal status, timing of menopause and hysterectomy with physical performance at age 53y
Using data on women participating in the MRC National Survey of Health and Development who have been followed up since birth in March 1946 (N=1386) associations of interest were examined. Menopausal status, grip strength, chair rises and standing balance time were assessed at age 53y and covariates were measured across life.
Women who were post-menopausal and not using hormone replacement therapy (HT) at age 53y had lower mean grip strength than women who were still pre- or peri-menopausal at this age. However, this trend of decreasing grip strength across the three natural menopausal categories (from pre- to post-menopausal) was explained by current body size. Those women who had undergone hysterectomy before age 40y had significantly weaker grip strength than women who had undergone hysterectomy at later ages - in fully adjusted analyses those women who had a hysterectomy before age 40y had a mean grip strength 5.21kg (95% CI: 2.18, 8.25) lower than women who had a hysterectomy between ages 50 and 53y. There were no significant associations between menopausal status or age at hysterectomy and chair rise or standing balance time and also no significant associations between timing of menopause and any of the performance measures.
Women who have hysterectomies at young ages represent a group who may require more support than other women to achieve and maintain good physical performance, especially muscle strength, in mid-life.
menopause; hysterectomy; grip strength; chair rises; standing balance; physical performance
Objectives: to evaluate the association between dehydroepiandosterone (DHEA) and physical frailty in older adults.
Design: cross-sectional analysis of baseline information from three separate studies in healthy older men, women and residents of assisted living.
Setting: academic health centre in greater Hartford, CT, USA.
Participants: eight hundred and ninety-eight adults residing in the community or assisted living facility.
Measurements: participants had measurement of frailty (weight loss, grip strength, sense of exhaustion, walking speed and physical activity) and serum DHEAS levels.
Results: overall, 6% of the individuals in the study were classified as frail, 58% intermediate frail and 35% were not frail. In the bivariate analysis, there were differences between categories of frailty across age, gender and by DHEAS levels. In an ordinal logistic regression model, with frailty as a dependent measure, we found that age, DHEAS and interactions of age and BMI and DHEAS and BMI were predictive of more frailty characteristics.
Conclusion: we found an association between frailty and DHEAS levels. Whether the association is due to similar conditions resulting in lower DHEA levels and more susceptibility to frailty or whether lower DHEA levels have an impact on increasing frailty cannot be addressed by cross-sectional analysis. Gender did not impact the association between DHEAS and frailty, but obesity (BMI > 30 kg/m2) attenuated the association between higher DHEA levels and lower frailty status.
dehydroepiandosterone; frailty; ageing; elderly
Evidence, mainly from cross-sectional studies, suggests that physical activity is a potentially important modifiable factor associated with physical performance and strength in older age. It is unclear whether the benefits of physical activity accumulate across life or whether there are sensitive periods when physical activity is more influential.
To examine the associations of leisure-time physical activity across adulthood with physical performance and strength in midlife, and to test whether there are cumulative benefits of physical activity.
Using data on approximately 2400 men and women from the UK Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development, followed up since birth in March 1946, the associations of physical activity levels during leisure time self-reported prospectively at ages 36, 43, and 53 years with grip strength, standing balance, and chair rise times, assessed by nurses at age 53 years (in 1999), were examined in 2010.
There were independent positive effects of physical activity at all three ages on chair rise performance, and at ages 43 and 53 years on standing balance performance, even after adjusting for covariates. These results were supported by evidence of cumulative effects found when using structured life course models. Physical activity and grip strength were not associated in women and, in men, only physical activity at age 53 years was associated with grip strength.
There are cumulative benefits of physical activity across adulthood on physical performance in midlife. Increased activity should be promoted early in adulthood to ensure the maintenance of physical performance in later life.
Grip strength, walking speed, chair rising and standing balance time are objective measures of physical capability that characterise current health and predict survival in older populations. Socioeconomic position (SEP) in childhood may influence the peak level of physical capability achieved in early adulthood, thereby affecting levels in later adulthood. We have undertaken a systematic review with meta-analyses to test the hypothesis that adverse childhood SEP is associated with lower levels of objectively measured physical capability in adulthood.
Methods and Findings
Relevant studies published by May 2010 were identified through literature searches using EMBASE and MEDLINE. Unpublished results were obtained from study investigators. Results were provided by all study investigators in a standard format and pooled using random-effects meta-analyses. 19 studies were included in the review. Total sample sizes in meta-analyses ranged from N = 17,215 for chair rise time to N = 1,061,855 for grip strength. Although heterogeneity was detected, there was consistent evidence in age adjusted models that lower childhood SEP was associated with modest reductions in physical capability levels in adulthood: comparing the lowest with the highest childhood SEP there was a reduction in grip strength of 0.13 standard deviations (95% CI: 0.06, 0.21), a reduction in mean walking speed of 0.07 m/s (0.05, 0.10), an increase in mean chair rise time of 6% (4%, 8%) and an odds ratio of an inability to balance for 5s of 1.26 (1.02, 1.55). Adjustment for the potential mediating factors, adult SEP and body size attenuated associations greatly. However, despite this attenuation, for walking speed and chair rise time, there was still evidence of moderate associations.
Policies targeting socioeconomic inequalities in childhood may have additional benefits in promoting the maintenance of independence in later life.
Physical functional decline is often the determining factor that leads to loss of independence in older persons. Identifying risk factors for physical disability may lead to interventions that may prevent or delay the onset of functional decline. Our study objective was to determine the association between hyperkyphotic posture and physical functional limitations.
Participants were 1578 older men and women from the Rancho Bernardo Study who had kyphotic posture measured as the distance from the occiput to table (units = 1.7-cm blocks, placed under the participant’s head when lying supine on a radiology table). Self-reported difficulty in bending, walking, and climbing was assessed by standard questionnaires. Physical performance was assessed by measuring grip strength and ability to rise from a chair without the use of the arms.
Men were more likely to be hyperkyphotic than were women (p < .0001). In multiply adjusted comparisons, there was a graded stepwise increase in difficulty in bending, walking and climbing, measured grip strength, and ability to rise from a chair. For example, the odds ratio (OR) of having to use the arms to stand up from a chair increased from 1.6 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.9–3.0) for individuals defined as hyperkyphotic by 1 block to 2.9 (95% CI: 1.7–5.1) for individuals defined as hyperkyphotic by 2 blocks to 3.7 (95% CI: 2.1–6.3) for individuals defined as hyperkyphotic by ≥ 3 blocks compared to those who were not hyperkyphotic (p for trend < .0001).
Older persons with hyperkyphotic posture are more likely to have physical functional difficulties.
Having a low level of education has been associated with worse physical performance. However, it is unclear whether this association varies by age, gender or the occupational categories of manual and non-manual work. This study examined whether there are education-related differences across four dimensions of physical performance by age, gender or occupational class and to what extent chronic diseases and lifestyle-related factors may explain such differences.
Participants were a random sample of 3212 people, 60 years and older, both living in their own homes and in institutions, from the Swedish National Study on Aging and Care, in Kungsholmen, Stockholm. Trained nurses assessed physical performance in grip strength, walking speed, balance and chair stands, and gathered data on education, occupation and lifestyle-related factors, such as physical exercise, body mass index, smoking and alcohol consumption. Diagnoses of chronic diseases were made by the examining physician.
Censored normal regression analyses showed that persons with university education had better grip strength, balance, chair stand time and walking speed than people with elementary school education. The differences in balance and walking speed remained statistically significant (p < 0.05) after adjustment for chronic diseases and lifestyle. However, age-stratified analyses revealed that the differences were no longer statistically significant in advanced age (80+ years). Gender-stratified analyses revealed that women with university education had significantly better grip strength, balance and walking speed compared to women with elementary school education and men with university education had significantly better chair stands and walking speed compared to men with elementary school education in multivariate adjusted models. Further analyses stratified by gender and occupational class suggested that the education-related difference in grip strength was only evident among female manual workers, while the difference in balance and walking speed was only evident among female and male non-manual workers, respectively.
Higher education was associated with better lower extremity performance in people aged 60 to 80, but not in advanced age (80+ years). Our results indicate that higher education is associated with better grip strength among female manual workers and with better balance and walking speed among female and male non-manual workers, respectively.
Educational status; Aging; Chronic diseases; Muscle strength; Walking; Postural balance
Telomeres are involved in cellular ageing and shorten with increasing age. If telomere length is a valuable biomarker of ageing, then telomere shortening should be associated with worse physical performance, an ageing trait, but evidence for such an association is lacking. The purpose of this study was to examine whether change in telomere length is associated with physical performance.
Using data from four UK adult cohorts (ages 53–80 years at baseline), we undertook cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses. We analysed each study separately and then used meta-analytic methods to pool the results. Physical performance was measured using walking and chair rise speed, standing balance time and grip strength. Telomere length was measured by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in whole blood at baseline and follow-up (time 1, time 2).
Total sample sizes in meta-analyses ranged from 1,217 to 3,707. There was little evidence that telomere length was associated with walking speed, balance or grip strength, though weak associations were seen with chair rise speed and grip strength at baseline (p = 0.02 and 0.01 respectively). Faster chair rise speed at follow-up, was associated with a smaller decline in telomere length between time 1 and time 2 (standardised coefficient per SD increase 0.061, 95% CI 0.006, 0.115, p = 0.03) but this was consistent with chance (p = 0.08) after further adjustment.
Whereas shortening of leukocyte telomeres might be an important measure of cellular ageing, there is little evidence that it is a strong biomarker for physical performance.
Chronic subclinical inflammation may contribute to impaired physical function in older adults; however, more data are needed to determine whether inflammation is a common mechanism for functional decline, independent of disease or health status.
We examined associations between physical function and inflammatory biomarkers in 542 older men and women enrolled in four clinical studies at Wake Forest University between 2001 and 2006. All participants were at least 55 years and had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, high cardiovascular risk, or self-reported physical disability. Uniform clinical assessments were used across studies, including grip strength; a Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB; includes balance, 4-m walk, and repeated chair stands); inflammatory biomarker assays for interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), and C-reactive protein (CRP); and anthropometric measures.
Higher levels of CRP and IL-6, but not TNF-α, were associated with lower grip strength and SPPB scores and longer times to complete the 4-m walk and repeated chair stands tests, independent of age, gender, and race. More importantly, these relationships were generally independent of disease status. Further adjustment for fat mass, lean mass, or percent body fat altered some of these relationships but did not significantly change the overall results.
Elevated CRP and IL-6 levels are associated with poorer physical function in older adults with various comorbidities, as assessed by a common battery of clinical assessments. Chronic subclinical inflammation may be a marker of functional limitations in older persons across several diseases/health conditions.
Inflammation; Physical function; Aging; Comorbidities
The adverse effects of smoking on individual medical conditions are well known; however, the cumulative effect of smoking on physical performance is not well characterized, particularly in midlife.
In the British 1946 Birth Cohort Study, cigarette pack-years were examined with standing balance, chair rising, grip strength, and an overall composite index. Pack-years were calculated from data collected at ages 20, 25, 31, 36, 43, and 53 years, whereas physical performance, cognitive function, anthropometry, and spirometry were assessed at age 53 years in 2,394 men and women. Regression and cubic splines were used to assess the relationship between pack-years and physical performance.
Greater pack-years smoked were associated with lower overall physical performance and lower performance in standing balance and chair rising; however, there was no association with grip strength. For every 10 pack-years smoked, the overall physical performance index decreased by 0.11 SD (95% confidence interval: 0.07–0.15, p < .001), standing balance time decreased by 0.09 SD (0.05–0.13), and the reciprocal of chair rise time decreased by 0.11 SD (0.07–0.16). Adjustment for education, social class, lung function, cognitive function, and medical conditions attenuated the effect, but pack-years remained significantly associated with standing balance and chair rising time.
Lifetime cigarette pack-years are strongly related to physical performance in the fifth decade of life, suggesting that smokers will enter older adulthood with decreased physiological reserve. As smoking prevalence remains high in many developed countries and is rapidly growing in developing countries, these findings underscore the need for effective smoking cessation and prevention programs.
Physical performance; Aging; Smoking; Cigarette pack-years
Several studies have reported predictors for loss of mobility and impairments of physical performance among frail elderly people.
To evaluate the relationship between lifetime occupation and physical function in persons aged 80 years or older.
Data are from baseline evaluation of 364 subjects enrolled in the ilSIRENTE study (a prospective cohort study performed in a mountain community in Central Italy). Physical performance was assessed using the physical performance battery score, which is based on three timed tests: 4-metre walking speed, balance, and chair stand tests. Muscle strength was measured by hand grip strength. Lifetime occupation was categorised as manual or non-manual work.
Mean age of participants was 85.9 (SD 4.9) years. Of the total sample, 273 subjects (75%) had a history of manual work and 91 subjects (25%) a history of non-manual work. Manual workers had significant lower grip strength and physical performance battery score (indicating worse performance) than non-manual workers. After adjustment for potential confounders (including age, gender, education, depression, cognitive performance scale score, physical activity, number of diseases, hearing impairment, history of alcohol abuse, smoking habit, and haemoglobin level), manual workers had significantly worse physical function (hand grip strength: non-manual workers 32.5 kg, SE 1.4, manual workers 28.2 kg, SE 0.8; physical performance battery score: non-manual workers 7.1, SE 0.4, manual workers 6.1, SE 0.2).
A history of manual work, especially when associated with high physical stress, is independently associated with low physical function and muscle strength in older persons.
Several studies have reported predictors for loss of mobility and impairments of physical performance among frail elderly people.
To evaluate the relationship between lifetime occupation and physical function in persons aged 80 years or older.
Data are from baseline evaluation of 364 subjects enrolled in the ilSIRENTE study (a prospective cohort study performed in a mountain community in Central Italy). Physical performance was assessed using the physical performance battery score, which is based on three timed tests: 4‐metre walking speed, balance, and chair stand tests. Muscle strength was measured by hand grip strength. Lifetime occupation was categorised as manual or non‐manual work.
Mean age of participants was 85.9 (SD 4.9) years. Of the total sample, 273 subjects (75%) had a history of manual work and 91 subjects (25%) a history of non‐manual work. Manual workers had significant lower grip strength and physical performance battery score (indicating worse performance) than non‐manual workers. After adjustment for potential confounders (including age, gender, education, depression, cognitive performance scale score, physical activity, number of diseases, hearing impairment, history of alcohol abuse, smoking habit, and haemoglobin level), manual workers had significantly worse physical function (hand grip strength: non‐manual workers 32.5 kg, SE 1.4, manual workers 28.2 kg, SE 0.8; physical performance battery score: non‐manual workers 7.1, SE 0.4, manual workers 6.1, SE 0.2).
A history of manual work, especially when associated with high physical stress, is independently associated with low physical function and muscle strength in older persons.
lifetime occupation; physical performance; aging;
Recent reports suggest that vitamin D status influences musculoskeletal health; yet, there are limited data in adult men. This study investigated whether serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentration was associated with lean body mass, muscle strength, and physical performance in men.
Population-based, observational survey
1,219 black, Hispanic, and white randomly-selected men aged 30–79 y from the Boston Area Community Health/Bone Survey
Lean body mass by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, hand-grip strength, a composite physical function score (chair stand and walking speed), 25(OH)D, parathyroid hormone (PTH), testosterone, age, race, body mass index, socioeconomic status, education, smoking, arthritis, self-reported health, calcium intake, physical activity.
The distributions of serum 25(OH)D quartiles differed by race/ethnicity, education, and smoking status. After adjustment for multiple lifestyle factors, serum 25(OH)D was not related to lean body mass, grip strength, or the composite physical function score (all p>0.20). There was no variation in the associations between 25(OH)D level and outcomes by race/ethnicity. The relationship between PTH and the outcomes revealed similar results.
In this population-based sample of adult men with a broad age range, there was no association between serum 25(OH)D concentration and lean body mass, muscle strength, and physical function after controlling for multiple lifestyle factors.
25-hydroxyvitamin D; vitamin D; physical function; muscle strength
Low muscle mass and function have been associated with poorer indicators of physical capability in older people, which are in-turn associated with increased mortality rates. The growth hormone/insulin-like growth factor (GH/IGF) axis is involved in muscle function and genetic variants in genes in the axis may influence measures of physical capability.
As part of the Healthy Ageing across the Life Course (HALCyon) programme, men and women from seven UK cohorts aged between 52 and 90 years old were genotyped for six polymorphisms: rs35767 (IGF1), rs7127900 (IGF2), rs2854744 (IGFBP3), rs2943641 (IRS1), rs2665802 (GH1) and the exon-3 deletion of GHR. The polymorphisms have previously been robustly associated with age-related traits or are potentially functional. Meta-analysis was used to pool within-study genotypic effects of the associations between the polymorphisms and four measures of physical capability: grip strength, timed walk or get up and go, chair rises and standing balance.
Few important associations were observed among the several tests. We found evidence that rs2665802 in GH1 was associated with inability to balance for 5 s (pooled odds ratio per minor allele = 0.90, 95% CI: 0.82–0.98, p-value = 0.01, n = 10,748), after adjusting for age and sex. We found no evidence for other associations between the polymorphisms and physical capability traits.
Our findings do not provide evidence for a substantial influence of these common polymorphisms in the GH/IGF axis on objectively measured physical capability levels in older adults.
The study was conducted to examine sex differences in the initial level and rate of change in physical function and grip strength.
The baseline survey included 2,262 Danes born in 1905 and alive in 1998 and followed-up in 2000, 2003, and 2005. Hence, the authors fully used the power of having a cohort with multiple assessments in late life and virtually complete follow-up of lifespan (through December 2008). Latent growth curve modeling was used.
Men had higher initial levels and rates of decline in strength score and grip strength. Lifespan was positively correlated with intercepts and slopes.
The Danish data suggested that the longest-living individuals have higher initial levels of strength score and grip strength and smaller rate of change. The data further suggested that the initial level of strength score and grip strength was more predictive of mortality than the rate of change was, and the predictive effects were similar in men and women.
sex; activities of daily living; grip strength; oldest old; mortality; growth-curve analysis; Denmark
Little is known about the physical performance ability of residential care/assisted living (RC/AL) residents and its relationship to adverse outcomes such as fracture, nursing home placement, functional decline, and death. The purposes of this paper are to: 1) describe the functional characteristics of RC/AL residents; 2) examine the relationships between resident- and facility-characteristics and physical performance; and 3) determine the predictive value of physical performance for adverse outcomes.
Design and Methods
Data were derived from 1791 residents in 189 RC/AL facilities, participating in the Collaborative Studies of Long-Term Care. At baseline, residents were tested on four performance measures (grip strength, chair rise, balance, and walking speed), and other resident- and facility-level information was collected. Adverse outcomes were measured over one year.
Average grip strength was 14 ± 7 kg; 61% of residents walked < 0.6 m/second (average 0.41 m/second); 26% could perform five chair rises; and only 19% could perform a tandem stand for a least one second. Multivariable analyses showed that more cognitive and functional impairment, depressive symptoms and comorbid conditions, and for-profit ownership, were associated with poorer physical performance. Controlling for individual characteristics, better performance on the four physical performance measures was associated with a reduced risk of nursing home placement, fracture, and decline in function over one year.
Simple performance measures identify modifiable functional deficits, and suggest targeted interventions to prolong independent mobility and aging in place in RC/AL facilities.
Mobility; Function; Long-term care; Adverse outcomes; Fracture
To examine relationships between diet and grip strength in older men and women, and to determine whether these relationships are modified by prenatal growth.
Cross-sectional and retrospective cohort study
Two thousand, nine hundred and eighty three men and women aged 59 to 73 years who were born and still live in Hertfordshire, UK
Weight at birth recorded in Health Visitor ledgers. Current food and nutrient intake assessed using an administered food frequency questionnaire, grip strength was measured with a hand-held dynamometer.
Grip strength was positively associated with height and weight at birth, and inversely related to age (all P<0.001). Of the dietary factors considered in relation to grip strength, the most important was fatty fish consumption. An increase in grip strength of 0.43kg (95% CI 0.13 to 0.74) in men (P=0.005), and 0.48kg (95% CI 0.24 to 0.72) in women (P<0.001), was observed for each additional portion of fatty fish consumed per week. These relationships were independent of adult height, age and birth weight, each of which had additive effects on grip strength. There was no evidence of interactive effects of weight at birth and adult diet on grip strength.
These data suggest that fatty fish consumption can have an important influence on muscle function in older men and women. This raises the possibility that the anti-inflammatory actions of n-3 fatty acids may play a role in the prevention of sarcopenia.
diet; sarcopenia; grip strength