Send to

Choose Destination
Calcif Tissue Int. 2020 Mar 3. doi: 10.1007/s00223-020-00679-2. [Epub ahead of print]

Long-term rates of change in musculoskeletal aging and body composition: findings from the Health, Aging and Body Composition Study.

Author information

MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK.
Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand.
Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, USA.
Laboratory of Epidemiology and Population Sciences, Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Aging, Baltimore, USA.
Nutrition, Exercise Physiology, and Sarcopenia Laboratory, Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston, USA.
MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK.
NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Southampton, UK.
NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.


Musculoskeletal disorders are common among older people. Preventive strategies require understanding of age-related changes in strength, function and body composition, including how they interrelate. We have described, and examined associations between, 9-year changes in these parameters among 2917 Health, Aging and Body Composition Study participants (aged 70-79 years). Appendicular lean mass (ALM), whole body fat mass and total hip BMD were ascertained using DXA; muscle strength by grip dynamometry; and muscle function by gait speed. For each characteristic annualised percentage changes were calculated; measures of conditional change (independent of baseline) were derived and their interrelationships were examined using Pearson correlations; proportion of variance at 9-year follow-up explained by baseline level was estimated; and mean trajectories in relation to age were estimated using linear mixed models. Analyses were stratified by sex. Median [lower quartile, upper quartile] annual percentage declines were grip strength (1.5 [0.0, 2.9]), gait speed (2.0 [0.6, 3.7]), ALM (0.7 [0.1, 1.4]), fat mass (0.4 [- 1.1, 1.9]) and hip BMD (0.5 [0.0, 1.1]). Declines were linear for ALM and accelerated over time for other characteristics. Most conditional change measures were positively correlated, most strongly between ALM, fat mass and hip BMD (r > 0.28). Proportion of variation at follow-up explained by baseline was lower for grip strength and gait speed (39-52%) than other characteristics (69-86%). Strength and function declined more rapidly, and were less correlated between baseline and follow-up, than measures of body composition. Therefore, broader intervention strategies to prevent loss of strength and function in later life are required as those targeting body composition alone may be insufficient.


Epidemiology; Frailty; Muscle; Osteoporosis; Sarcopenia


Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center