University Of Tasmania

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Prospective associations of low muscle mass and function with 10-year falls risk, incident fracture and mortality in community-dwelling older adults

Objectives: Purpose: To compare the performance of low muscle mass and function with falls risk, incident fracture and mortality over 10 years.

Methods: 1041 participants (50% women; mean age 63±7.5 years) were prospectively followed for 10 years. Falls risk was measured using the Physiological Profile Assessment, fractures were self-reported and mortality was ascertained from the death registry. Appendicular lean mass (ALM) was assessed using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. Four anthropometric: (ALM/height2, ALM/body mass index, ALM/weight×100, a residuals method of ALM on height and total body fat) and four performance-based measures: (handgrip strength, lower-limb muscle strength, upper and lower-limb muscle quality) were examined. Participants in the lowest 20% of the sex-specific distribution for each anthropometric and performance-based measure were classified has having low muscle mass or function. Regression analyses were used to estimate associations between each anthropometric and performance-based measure at baseline and 10-year falls risk, incident fractures and mortality.

Results: Mean falls risk z-score at 10 years was 0.64 (SD 1.12), incident fractures and mortality over 10 years were 16% and 14% respectively. All baseline performance based measures were significantly associated with higher falls risk score at 10 years. Low handgrip (RR 1.55, 95% CI: 1.09, 2.20) and ALM/body mass index (RR 1.54, 95% CI: 1.14, 2.08) were the only significant predictors of fracture and mortality respectively.

Conclusions: Low handgrip strength, a simple and inexpensive test could be considered in clinical settings for identifying future falls and fractures. ALM/ body mass index could be most suitable in estimating 10-year mortality risk, but requires specialised equipment.


Publication title

Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging










Menzies Institute for Medical Research



Place of publication


Rights statement

Copyright 2016 Serdi and Springer-Verlag France

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  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Clinical health not elsewhere classified

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