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Physical activity may prevent functional disability in older women

10 Jul 2020

A recent study suggests that physical activity (PA) is effective in preventing functional disability in older women with or without osteosarcopenic obesity (OSO). Additionally, those with OSO who are not that active in leisure-time exercise and locomotion domains have a greater risk for functional disability.

A total of 152 Brazilian older women aged 60 years were included in this study, which examined the association of total PA with physical function and functional capacity, as well as assessed the risk of functional disability in insufficiently active women with OSO.

The investigators used dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and physical tests to measure body composition and physical functions, respectively. Functional capacity and PA were self-reported.

Engaging in leisure-time exercise (β, –0.23, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], –0.40 to –0.06) and total PA (β, –0.40, 95 percent CI, –0.57 to –0.23) inversely correlated with dependence in activities of daily living among older women without OSO.

Among older women with OSO, engaging in leisure-time exercise inversely correlated with physical function (β, 0.88, 95 percent CI, 0.31–1.46) and functional capacity (β, –1.05, 95 percent CI, 1.64 to –0.45), while total PA (β, –1.03, 95 percent CI, –1.93 to –0.13) was inversely associated with functional capacity, independent of control variables.

Moreover, older women with OSO who remained insufficiently active in leisure time exercise (hazard ratio [HR], 2.28, 95 percent CI, 1.04–4.99) and locomotion (HR, 2.62, 95 percent CI, 1.28–5.36) domains were at higher risk for functional disability.

“PA could be effective in the prevention of functional disability in older women, especially for those with body composition abnormalities,” the investigators noted.

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