Both baseline and change in lower limb muscle strength in younger women are independent predictors of balance in middle age: A 12-Year population-based prospective study
Wu, F and Callisaya, M and Wills, K and Laslett, LL and Jones, G and Winzenberg, T, Both baseline and change in lower limb muscle strength in younger women are independent predictors of balance in middle age: A 12-Year population-based prospective study, Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 32, (6) pp. 1201-1208. ISSN 0884-0431 (2017) [Refereed Article]
Poor balance is a risk factor for falls and fracture in older adults, but little is known about modifiable factors affecting balance in younger women. This study aimed to examine whether lower limb muscle strength (LMS) in young women and changes in LMS are independent predictors of balance in middle age. This was an observational 10-year follow-up of 470 women aged 25 to 44 years at baseline who had previously participated in a 2-year population-based randomized controlled trial of osteoporosis education interventions. Linear regression was used to examine the association between baseline LMS (by dynamometer) and change in LMS over 12 years with balance at 12 years (timed up and go test [TUG], step test [ST], functional reach test [FRT], and lateral reach test [LRT]). LMS declined by a mean of 17.3 kg over 12 years. After adjustment for potential confounders, baseline and change in LMS were independently beneficially associated with TUG (β = -0.008 sec/kg, 95% confidence interval [CI] -0.01 to -0.006, and β = -0.006 sec/kg, 95% CI -0.009 to -0.003 for baseline and change, respectively), FRT (β = 0.057 cm/kg, 95% CI 0.030 to 0.084, and β = 0.071 cm/kg, 95% CI 0.042 to 0.101, respectively), and LRT (β = 0.030 cm/kg, 95% CI 0.012 to 0.049, and β = 0.022 cm/kg, 95% CI 0.002 to 0.043, respectively) 12 years later. There was an association between baseline LMS and ST (β = 0.044 steps/kg, 95% CI 0.022 to 0.067) but not between change in LMS and ST. Among young women, greater LMS at baseline and slower decline over time are both associated with better balance in midlife. Analogous to the contributions of peak bone mass and bone loss to fracture risk in older adults, this suggests that both improvement of muscle strength in younger age and prevention of age-related loss of muscle strength could be potentially useful strategies to improve balance and reduce falls in later life.