Sao paulo [Brazil], September 1 (ANI): A new study found that a dangerous combination of weak muscles and abdominal fat could lead to a significant reduction in walking speed in the elderly.
The results of this study were published in the journal “Age and Ageing”.
The study was conducted by researchers at the Federal University of San Carlos (UFSCar) in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in collaboration with colleagues at University College London (UCL) in the United Kingdom.
Slow gait is a natural result of the aging process, but sudden slowdowns in gait can cause mobility problems.
Routine activities, such as crossing the road before the traffic lights change, become increasingly difficult, and worsening conditions increase the risk of falls and can lead to a gradual loss of independence.
“Our comparative analysis showed a decrease in walking speed mainly when abdominal fat and skeletal muscle were associated. In elderly people with only abdominal fat or only skeletal muscle, walking speed was so rapid. It didn’t decline, “said Professor Tiagoda Silva Alexander. The last author of a paper on this study at the Department of Gerontology, Federal University of San Carlos Center for Biohealth Sciences (CCBS-UFSCar).
The study analyzed data from 2,294 people over the age of 60 who participated in the UK Longitudinal Study of Aging (ELSA). It was supported by FAPESP through Young Researcher Grants and PhD Scholarships.
Participants were divided into four groups, neither dynapenic nor abdominal obesity, abdominal obesity only, dynapenic only, and both dynapenic and abdominal obesity, based on ELSA data for walking speed and weakness (dynapenia).
None of the participants had problems with mobility or walking speed at the start of the measurement. Walking speed was most reduced in patients with abdominal obesity and dynapenia during the next 8 years of monitoring.
According to Roberta de Oliveira Maximo, a doctoral candidate for the UFSCar Graduate School of Physical Therapy program and the first author of the treatise, people in this age group with no movement restrictions have a baseline walking speed of 0.8 m / s (8 m / s). Or 2.88 km / h). ).
“Participants with abdominal obesity and weakness experienced a loss of 0.15 m / s over 8 years. At this speed, there may be times when they cannot cross the street within the time allowed by the signal. ., “She said.
In another study published in 2017, based on data from another epidemiological study, 97.8% of the elderly sample in the city of São Paulo was fast enough to cross the street when the pedestrian traffic light was green. It was shown that he could not walk.
This study, called SABE and conducted by the University of São Paulo School of Public Health (FSP-USP), did not analyze the correlation between abdominal fat, skeletal muscle, and walking speed.
UFSCar researchers noted that abdominal fat accumulation activates an inflammatory cascade that consumes muscle mass and reduces strength.
“Therefore, the concept of dynapenic abdominal obesity that we have been studying in our research group for several years,” Alexander told Agencia FAPESP.
“Previous studies have shown a correlation between these very common characteristics of the population and changes in falls, lipids, carbohydrates, glucose, cholesterol metabolism, incapacity, and even increased risk of death. But this was the first study to relate them to mobility, “added Alexander.
Abdominal obesity was defined as a waist circumference of more than 102 cm in men and 88 cm in women. Dynapenia was defined as a grip strength of less than 26 kg for men and less than 16 kg for women.
Alexandre elaborated on the association between fat accumulation, muscle weakness, and loss of athletic performance, stating that decreased subcutaneous fat and increased abdominal fat were normal with increasing age.
“Abdominal fat is more common in men. In women, fat tends to build up around the thighs and lower back, but after menopausal hormones drop, fat also builds up in the abdomen. An inflammatory cascade occurs, “he explained.
“Abdominal fat accumulation promotes inflammation, consuming muscle mass and reducing muscle strength, as well as impairing nerve control of the muscles, resulting in steady loss of strength and fat accumulation,” he said. Added.
Therefore, for researchers, healthcare professionals need to measure abdominal fat and muscle strength in clinics and hospitals to predict slow walking speeds.
“Lower walking speed is an important indicator, which suggests mobility problems, an increased risk of falls, and the potential incompetence of older people,” said Alexander.
“The purpose of this study was to show the usefulness of this predictor for the medical team. A significant number of older people have weak muscles and accumulated tummy fat, both in exercise training and diet. You can fix it, “concludes Alexander.
Source Elderly people with abdominal fat develop movement disorders