Body weight, bmi, percent fat and associations with mortality and incident mobility limitation in older men

Peggy M. Cawthon, Stephanie L. Harrison, Tara Rogers-Soeder, Katey Webber, Satya Jonnalagadda, Suzette L. Pereira, Nancy Lane, Jane A. Cauley, James M. Shikany, Samaneh Farsijani, Lisa Langsetmo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


How different measures of adiposity are similarly or differentially related to mobility limitation and mortality is not clear. In total, 5849 community-dwelling men aged ≥65 years (mean age: 72 years) were followed mortality over 10 years and self-reported mobility limitations (any difficulty walking 2–3 blocks or with climbing 10 steps) at six contacts over 14 years. Baseline measures of adiposity included weight, BMI and percent fat by DXA. Appendicular lean mass (ALM, by DXA) was analyzed as ALM/ht2. Proportional hazards models estimated the risk of mortality, and repeated measures generalized estimating equations estimated the likelihood of mobility limitation. Over 10 years, 27.9% of men died; over 14 years, 48.0% of men reported at least one mobility limitation. We observed U-shaped relationships between weight, BMI, percent fat and ALM/ht2 with mortality. There was a clear log-linear relationship between weight, BMI and percent fat with incident mobility limitation, with higher values associated with a greater likelihood of mobility limitation. In contrast, there was a U-shaped relationship between ALM/ht2 and incident mobility limitation. These observational data suggest that no single measure of adiposity or body composition reflects both the lowest risk of mortality and the lowest likelihood for developing mobility limitation in older men.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number53
JournalGeriatrics (Switzerland)
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: The Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOS) Study is supported by National Institutes of Health funding. The following institutes provide support: the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) and NIH Roadmap for Medical Research under the following grant numbers: U01 AG027810, U01 AG042124, U01 AG042139, U01 AG042140, U01 AG042143, U01 AG042145, U01 AG042168, U01 AR066160 and UL1 TR000128. Additional funding for this study was provided by Abbott Nutrition. This manuscript is the result of work supported in part with resources and use of facilities of the Minneapolis VA Health Care System.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Mobility limitation
  • Mortality
  • Obesity


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