Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2010 Jan;65(1):84-92. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glp150. Epub 2009 Oct 12.

Joint association of obesity and metabolic syndrome with incident mobility limitation in older men and women--results from the Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study.

Author information

  • 1Longitudinal Studies Section, Clinical Research Branch, National Institute on Aging, Harbor Hospital, 3001 South Hanover Street, Baltimore, MD 21225, USA.



Although both obesity and the metabolic syndrome (MetS) are known risk factors for decline in physical function, the joint association of obesity and metabolic alterations with risk of incident mobility limitation is unknown.


Data are from 2,984 women and men aged 70-79 years participating in the Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study without mobility limitation at baseline. Obesity was defined as body mass index greater than or equal to 30 kg/m(2) and the MetS as meeting greater than or equal to 3 of the ATP III criteria. Mobility limitation was defined as any difficulty walking one-quarter mile or climbing 10 steps during two consecutive semiannual assessments for more than 6.5 years.


Incidence of mobility limitation was 55% in women and 44% in men. In women, adjusted risk of developing mobility limitation was progressively greater in nonobese participants with the MetS (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.49, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.24-1.80), obese participants without the MetS (HR = 1.95, 95% CI = 1.51-2.53), and obese participants with the MetS (HR = 2.16, 95% CI = 1.78-2.63) relative to the nonobese without the MetS. In men, the corresponding adjusted HRs (95% CI) were 1.07 (0.87-1.32), 1.64 (1.19-2.25), and 1.41 (1.12-1.78). Elevated inflammatory markers partly explained the association between obesity, the MetS, and mobility limitation, particularly in nonobese and obese participants with the MetS.


Obesity itself, independent of its metabolic consequences, is a risk factor for mobility limitation among obese older adults. In addition, having the MetS increases the risk of functional decline in older nonobese women but not in men.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center