Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Obesity, and Functional Limitation in Older Adults

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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One hundred forty-six abdominally obese adults age 60–80 yr were studied to investigate the interaction between cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and obesity on functional limitation. Obesity was determined by fat mass (FM), CRF was determined by a maximal treadmill test, and functional limitation was based on 4 different tasks that are predictive of subsequent disability. Both FM (r = –.34, p ≤ .01) and CRF (r = .54, p ≤ .01) were independently associated with functional limitation in bivariate analysis. After further control for sex, age, and the interaction term (CRF × FM), FM was no longer independently associated with functional limitation (p = .10). Analyses were also based on sex-specific tertiles of FM and CRF. The referent group demonstrated significantly lower functional limitation than the low-CRF/low-FM and the low-CRF/high-FM groups (both p ≤ .05). These results highlight the value of recommending exercise for abdominally obese adults.

Bouchard, McGuire, and Ross are with the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada. Davidson is with the Dept. of Internal Medicine, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT.