Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences Large Type Edition
 QUICK SEARCH:   [advanced]
Year:  Vol:  Page: 

This Article
Right arrow Full Text
Right arrow Full Text (PDF)
Right arrow Alert me when this article is cited
Right arrow Alert me if a correction is posted
Right arrow Similar articles in this journal
Right arrow Similar articles in PubMed
Right arrow Alert me to new issues of the journal
Right arrow Download to citation manager
Right arrow Cited by other online articles
Google Scholar
Right arrow Articles by Visser, M.
Right arrow Articles citing this Article
Right arrow PubMed Citation
Right arrow Articles by Visser, M.
The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 60:324-333 (2005)
© 2005 The Gerontological Society of America

Muscle Mass, Muscle Strength, and Muscle Fat Infiltration as Predictors of Incident Mobility Limitations in Well-Functioning Older Persons

Marjolein Visser1,2,, Bret H. Goodpaster3, Stephen B. Kritchevsky4, Anne B. Newman5, Michael Nevitt6, Susan M. Rubin6, Eleanor M. Simonsick7, Tamara B. Harris2 and for the Health ABC Study

1 Institute for Research in Extramural Medicine, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
2 National Institute on Aging, Laboratory of Epidemiology, Demography, and Biometry, Bethesda, Maryland.
3 Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
4 Sticht Center on Aging, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
5 Division of Geriatric Medicine, University of Pittsburgh.
6 Prevention Sciences Group, University of California, San Francisco.
7 National Institute on Aging, Gerontology Research Center, Baltimore, Maryland.

Address correspondence to Dr. M. Visser, Institute for Research in Extramural Medicine, VU University Medical Center, Van der Boechorststraat 7, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands. E-mail: m.visser{at}

Background. Lower muscle mass has been correlated with poor physical function; however, no studies have examined this relationship prospectively. This study aims to investigate whether low muscle mass, low muscle strength, and greater fat infiltration into the muscle predict incident mobility limitation.

Methods. Our study cohort included 3075 well-functioning black and white men and women aged 70–79 years participating in the Health, Aging, and Body Composition study. Participants were followed for 2.5 years. Muscle cross-sectional area and muscle tissue attenuation (a measure of fat infiltration) were measured by computed tomography at the mid-thigh, and knee extensor strength by using a KinCom dynamometer. Incident mobility limitation was defined as two consecutive self-reports of any difficulty walking one-quarter mile or climbing 10 steps.

Results. Mobility limitations were developed by 22.3% of the men and by 31.8% of the women. Cox's proportional hazards models, adjusting for demographic, lifestyle, and health factors, showed a hazard ratio of 1.90 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.27–2.84] in men and 1.68 (95% CI, 1.23–2.31) in women for the lowest compared to the highest quartile of muscle area (p <.01 for trend). Results for muscle strength were 2.02 (95% CI, 1.39–2.94) and 1.91 (95% CI, 1.41–2.58), p <.001 trend, and for muscle attenuation were 1.91 (95% CI, 1.31–2.83) and 1.68 (95% CI, 1.20–2.35), p <.01 for trend. When included in one model, only muscle attenuation and muscle strength independently predicted mobility limitation (p <.05). Among men and women, associations were similar for blacks and whites.

Conclusion. Lower muscle mass (smaller cross-sectional thigh muscle area), greater fat infiltration into the muscle, and lower knee extensor muscle strength are associated with increased risk of mobility loss in older men and women. The association between low muscle mass and functional decline seems to be a function of underlying muscle strength.

This article has been cited by other articles: (Search Google Scholar for Other Citing Articles)

Home page
Am. J. Clin. Nutr.Home page
M. Visser, D. J. Deeg, M. T. Puts, J. C Seidell, and P. Lips
Low serum concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in older persons and the risk of nursing home admission
Am. J. Clinical Nutrition, September 1, 2006; 84(3): 616 - 622.
[Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]

Home page
Am. J. Clin. Nutr.Home page
G. M Price, R. Uauy, E. Breeze, C. J Bulpitt, and A. E Fletcher
Weight, shape, and mortality risk in older persons: elevated waist-hip ratio, not high body mass index, is associated with a greater risk of death
Am. J. Clinical Nutrition, August 1, 2006; 84(2): 449 - 460.
[Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]

Home page
J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med SciHome page
G. E. Hicks, E. M. Simonsick, T. B. Harris, A. B. Newman, D. K. Weiner, M. A. Nevitt, and F. A. Tylavsky
Trunk Muscle Composition as a Predictor of Reduced Functional Capacity in the Health, Aging and Body Composition Study: The Moderating Role of Back Pain
J. Gerontol. A Biol. Sci. Med. Sci., November 1, 2005; 60(11): 1420 - 1424.
[Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]

Home page
JAMAHome page
S. B. Kritchevsky, B. J. Nicklas, M. Visser, E. M. Simonsick, A. B. Newman, T. B. Harris, E. M. Lange, B. W. Penninx, B. H. Goodpaster, S. Satterfield, L. H. Colbert, S. M. Rubin, and M. Pahor
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Insertion/Deletion Genotype, Exercise, and Physical Decline
JAMA, August 10, 2005; 294(6): 691 - 698.
[Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]

All GSA journals The Gerontologist
Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Copyright © 2005 by The Gerontological Society of America.