Tags: Fat Thighs Immobility Seniors

Fat Thighs Tied to Immobility in Seniors

By    |   Thursday, 21 Feb 2013 11:34 AM

Weight-loss programs that target expanding waistlines may be aiming too high, new research suggests.  Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center sports scientists have found an increase in fat in the thighs can lead to mobility problems in otherwise healthy older adults and may lead to additional weight gain.

Lead researcher Kristen Beavers and colleagues at Wake Forest Baptist said the findings suggest that prevention of age-related declines in mobility — walking speed, in particular — isn’t just about preserving muscle mass, but also about preventing fat gain.
 
Beavers noted walking speed tends to decline as people age and a slower gait can be a key predictor of disability, nursing home admission, and even death. Unfortunately, not much is known about what precedes this decline.
 
“As people age, they are more likely to gain fat in and around their muscles, and we speculated that gaining fat in the leg muscle itself would be related to slowed walking speed,” she said.
 
Beavers’ team analyzed information from the National Institute on Aging’s Health, Aging, and Body Composition study, a long-running research project involving several thousand Americans aged 70-79. They examined how changes in fat and lean mass affected walking speed in 2,306 men and women.
 
The results, published online in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed both increasing thigh fat and decreasing thigh muscle were significant, independent predictors of walking speed decline. In fact, older adults who gained the most thigh fat and lost the most thigh muscle were at greatest risk of experiencing the biggest declines in walking speed.
 
“As the burden of disability becomes increasingly common and expensive, identification of modifiable contributors to functional decline in older adults is emerging as a significant priority of public health research,” Beavers said. “Future studies building on these findings should test whether targeted reductions in thigh intermuscular fat, augmentation of thigh muscle area, or both yield improvements in walking speed and prolonged independence for older adults.”

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Scientists have found an increase in fat in the thighs can lead to mobility problems in otherwise healthy older adults.
Fat Thighs Immobility Seniors
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2013-34-21
Thursday, 21 Feb 2013 11:34 AM
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