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Herculina S. Kruger, Lize Havemann-Nel, Chrisna Ravyse, Sarah J. Moss and Michael Tieland

Background:

Black women are believed to be genetically less predisposed to age-related sarcopenia. The objective of this study was to investigate lifestyle factors associated with sarcopenia in black South African (SA) urban women.

Methods:

In a cross-sectional study, 247 women (mean age 57 y) were randomly selected. Anthropometric and sociodemographic variables, dietary intakes, and physical activity were measured. Activity was also measured by combined accelerometery/heart rate monitoring (ActiHeart), and HIV status was tested. Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry was used to measure appendicular skeletal mass (ASM). Sarcopenia was defined according to a recently derived SA cutpoint of ASM index (ASM/height squared) < 4.94 kg/m2.

Results:

In total, 8.9% of the women were sarcopenic, decreasing to 8.1% after exclusion of participants who were HIV positive. In multiple regressions with ASM index, grip strength, and gait speed, respectively, as dependent variables, only activity energy expenditure (β = .27) was significantly associated with ASM index. Age (β = –.50) and activity energy expenditure (β = .17) were significantly associated with gait speed. Age (β = –.11) and lean mass (β = .21) were significantly associated with handgrip strength.

Conclusions:

Sarcopenia was prevalent among these SA women and was associated with low physical activity energy expenditure.

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Evelien Backx, Cindy van der Avoort, Michael Tieland, Kamiel Maase, Arie Kies, Luc van Loon, Lisette de Groot and Marco Mensink

Studies monitoring vitamin D status in athletes are seldom conducted for a period of 12 months or longer, thereby lacking insight into seasonal fluctuations. The objective of the current study was to identify seasonal changes in total 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration throughout the year. Fifty-two, mainly Caucasian athletes with a sufficient 25(OH)D concentration (>75 nmol/L) in June were included in this study. Serum 25(OH)D concentration was measured every three months (June, September, December, March, June). In addition, vitamin D intake and sun exposure were assessed by questionnaires at the same time points. Highest total 25(OH)D concentrations were found at the end of summer (113 ± 26 nmol/L), whereas lowest concentrations were observed at the end of winter (78 ± 30 nmol/L). Although all athletes had a sufficient 25(OH)D concentration at the start of the study, nearly 20% of the athletes were deficient (<50 nmol/L) in late winter.

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Michael Tieland, Lex B. Verdijk, Lisette C.P.G.M. de Groot and Luc J.C. van Loon

Introduction:

Although handgrip strength is considered a strong predictor of negative health outcomes, it is unclear whether handgrip strength represents a useful measure to evaluate changes in muscle strength following resistance-type exercise training in older people. We assessed whether measuring handgrip strength provides proper insight in the efficacy of resistance-type exercise training to increase muscle mass, strength, and physical performance in frail older people.

Methods:

Prefrail and frail older people (≥ 65 y) were either conducting a 24-week resistance-type exercise training or no exercise training. Before, during, and after the intervention, handgrip strength (JAMAR), lean body mass (DXA), leg strength (1-RM), and physical performance (SPPB) were assessed.

Results:

Handgrip strength correlated with appendicular lean mass (r = 0.68; p < .001) and leg strength (r = 0.67; p < .001). After 24 weeks of whole body resistance-type exercise training, leg extension strength improved significantly better when compared with the control group (57 ± 2–78 ± 3 kg vs 57 ± 3–65 ± 3 kg: p < .001). Moreover, physical performance improved significantly more in the exercise group (8.0 ± 0.4–9.3 ± 0.4 points) when compared with the control group (8.3 ± 0.4–8.9 ± 0.4 points: p < .05). These positive changes were not accompanied with any significant changes in handgrip strength (26.3 ± 1.2–27.6 ± 1.2 kg in the exercise group vs 26.6 ± 1.2–26.3 ± 1.3 kg in the control group: p = .71).

Conclusion:

Although handgrip strength strongly correlates with muscle mass and leg strength in frail older people, handgrip strength does not provide a valid means to evaluate the efficacy of exercise intervention programs to increase muscle mass or strength in an older population.