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Journal of Aging Research


Background: Obesity and muscle weakness are independently associated with increased risk of physical and functional impairment in older adults. It is unknown whether physical activity (PA) and muscle strength combined provide added protection against functional impairment. This study examines the association between muscle strength, PA, and functional outcomes in older adults with central obesity. Methods: Prevalence and odds of physical (PL), ADL, and IADL limitation were calculated for 6,388 community dwelling adults aged ≥ 60 with central obesity. Individuals were stratified by sex-specific hand grip tertiles and PA. Logistic models were adjusted for age, education, comorbidities, and body-mass index and weighted. Results: Overall prevalence of PL and ADL and IADL limitations were progressively lower by grip category. Within grip categories, prevalence was lower for individuals who were active than those who were inactive. Adjusted models showed significantly lower odds of PL OR 0.42 [0.31, 0.56]; ADL OR 0.60 [0.43, 0.84], and IADL OR 0.46 0.35, 0.61] for those in the highest grip strength category as compared to those in the lowest grip category. Conclusion: Improving grip strength in obese elders who are not able to engage in traditional exercise is important for reducing odds of physical and functional impairment.