We aimed to investigate the relationship between sarcopenic obesity, and its components, with physical inactivity and falls among older men.
Participants (n=603) were men aged 60-93yr assessed in the Geelong Osteoporosis Study. Lean mass was measured by DXA (Lunar). Appendicular lean mass was expressed relative to height (rALM, kg/m2) and low rALM defined as T-score<-1. We identified sarcopenia in terms of both low muscle mass and function. Obesity was defined as BMI≥30.0kg/m2. Low muscle function was based on performance using the timed up-&-go (TUG) test (distance 3m, cut-off 10s). Physical activity scores were determined using a questionnaire for the elderly and low physical activity were scores <median. Falls were self-reported over the previous 12-months. Associations between sarcopenic obesity (and its components), physical inactivity and falls were determined using logistic regression after adjusting for age.
195 had low rALM, 160 had TUG>10s, 136 were obese and 3 had all three thereby meeting criteria for sarcopenic obesity. Age-specific prevalence for sarcopenic obesity was 60-69yr 0%, 70-79yr 0.9%, 80+ 0.6%. Low physical activity was associated with low rALM (OR=1.49, 95%CI 1.03-2.16, p=0.03), high TUG (OR=1.01, 95%CI 0.99-1.03, p=0.04) and obesity (OR=1.03, 95%CI 1.01-1.06, p=0.002). The likelihood of a fall was not detected for low rALM (OR=1.14, 95%CI 0.78-1.68, p=0.5), had borderline significance for TUG>10 (OR=1.40, 95%CI 0.93-2.10, p=0.1), and was lower for those with obesity (OR=0.80, 95%CI 0.51-1.23, p=0.03). Men with sarcopenic obesity all had low physical activity scores and 2 (66.7%) reported a fall (p=0.2); there were too few for multivariable analyses.
The prevalence of sarcopenic obesity was low in this group of elderly men. However, participation bias cannot be excluded and results were dependent on criteria for caseness. Our cross-sectional analyses suggest that men with sarcopenic obesity were habitually less active, but falls data were less clear