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Linear and nonlinear associations between physical activity, body composition, and multimorbidity over 10 years among community-dwelling older adults


Balogun, S and Aitken, D and Wu, F and Scott, D and Jones, G and Winzenberg, TM, Linear and nonlinear associations between physical activity, body composition, and multimorbidity over 10 years among community-dwelling older adults , Journals of Gerontology. Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 76, (11) pp. 2015-2020. ISSN 1079-5006 (2021) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2021 the authors

DOI: doi:10.1093/gerona/glab086


Background: This study aims to describe the relationships between physical activity (PA), body composition, and multimorbidity over 10 years.

Method: Participants (N = 373; 49% women; average age 61.3 ±: 6.7 years) were followed for 10 years. Multimorbidity was defined by self-report as the presence of 2 or more of 12 listed chronic conditions. PA (steps per day) at baseline was assessed by pedometer, handgrip strength (HGS) by dynamometer, and appendicular lean mass (ALM) and total body fat mass by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Relative HGS and ALM were calculated by dividing each body mass index (BMI). Regression cubic splines were used to assess evidence for a nonlinear relationship.

Results: After 10 years, 45% participants had multimorbidity. There was a nonlinear relationship between PA and multimorbidity—PA was associated with lower multimorbidity risk among individuals who engaged in <10 000 steps/d (relative risk [RR] = 0.91, 95% CI: 0.85, 0.97, per 1 000 steps/d), but not among those who participated in ≥10 000 steps/d (RR = 1.04, 95% CI: 0.93, 1.09, per 1 000 steps/d). Higher BMI (RR = 1.05, 95% CI: 1.02, 1.08, per kg/m2) and fat mass (RR = 1.03, 95% CI: 1.01, 1.04, per kg), and lower relative HGS (RR = 0.85, 95% CI: 0.77, 0.94, per 0.1 psi/kg/m2) and ALM (RR = 0.93, 95% CI: 0.88, 0.98, per 0.1 kg/kg/m2) were linearly associated with a higher risk of multimorbidity. Absolute HGS and ALM were not significantly associated with multimorbidity.

Discussion: These findings highlight the potential clinical importance of maintaining adequate levels of PA and of reducing adiposity and maintaining muscle function for minimizing the risk of multimorbidity in older adults.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Body composition, dynapenia, physical activity, sarcopenia, physical activity, multimorbidity, older adults
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Multimorbidity
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Evaluation of health and support services
Objective Field:Determinants of health
UTAS Author:Balogun, S (Dr Saliu Balogun)
UTAS Author:Aitken, D (Associate Professor Dawn Aitken)
UTAS Author:Wu, F (Dr Feitong Wu)
UTAS Author:Jones, G (Professor Graeme Jones)
UTAS Author:Winzenberg, TM (Professor Tania Winzenberg)
ID Code:151787
Year Published:2021
Funding Support:National Health and Medical Research Council (302204)
Web of Science® Times Cited:3
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2022-08-04
Last Modified:2022-09-07

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