Kyphosis and decline in physical function over 15 years in older community-dwelling women: The study of osteoporotic fractures

Wendy B. Katzman, Mei Hua Huang, Nancy E. Lane, Kristine E. Ensrud, Deborah M. Kado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


BackgroundMaintaining physical function is an important prerequisite for preserving independence in later life. Greater degrees of kyphosis in the thoracic spine are prevalent in older persons and accompanied by reduced physical function in multiple cross-sectional studies. It is unknown whether kyphosis predicts worse physical function over time.Methods.We retrospectively assessed whether greater magnitude of kyphosis is associated with decline in self-reported and objectively measured physical function over 15 years. Digitized Cobb angle kyphosis (T4-T12) was derived from supine lateral thoracic spine radiographs in a cohort of 1,196 women aged 65 and older (mean = 69.3 years [SD = 4.0]). Using regression models, we evaluated associations of baseline kyphosis with both self-reported functional status and objectively measured gait speed, grip strength, and timed chair stands cross-sectionally and as change assessed over 15 years.Results.In cross-sectional multivariate analyses, with each 10-degree increment of kyphosis, grip strength was 0.24kg lower (p =. 02), but there were no significant associations between kyphosis and functional status, gait speed, or timed chair stand, likely reflecting the high functioning study participants. In multivariate longitudinal analysis, with each 10-degree increment in baseline kyphosis, there was 0.07 point additional decline in functional status (p =. 09), 0.01 m/s more decline in gait speed (p =. 07), and 0.32 s greater decline in time to complete five chair stands (p =. 004), but no association with decline in grip strength.Conclusions.Greater magnitude of kyphosis may predict worsening lower extremity function over time in older women. Early recognition and preventative measures against kyphosis progression may help preserve physical function over the long term.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)976-983
Number of pages8
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This research was conducted for the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures (SOF) Research Group and supported by the UCSF-Kaiser Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH).

Funding Information:
Funding This work was cofunded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) 5K12 HD052163. Study of Osteoporotic Fractures is supported by National Institutes of Health funding. The National Institute on Aging (NIA) and NIAMS provides support under the following grant numbers: RO1 AG 24246, RO1 AR060828, R01 AG005407, R01 AR35582, R01 AR35583, R01 AR35584, R01 AG005394, R01 AG027574, and R01 AG027576. This work was partially supported by NIH grants 2K24-AR04884-06 and R01 AR052000-01.


  • Imaging
  • Normative aging
  • Physical function


Dive into the research topics of 'Kyphosis and decline in physical function over 15 years in older community-dwelling women: The study of osteoporotic fractures'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this