Prevalence of obesity, sarcopenic obesity and associated factors: A FIBRA Network study

Abstract Introduction: Sarcopenic obesity in older adults may lead to an inability to use muscles efficiently and has been associated with functional deficits and disabilities. Objective: To identify the prevalence of obesity and sarcopenic obesity (SO) among community-dwelling older adults, and to characterize associated sociodemographics, health conditions and functional performance. Methods: Study data are from the FIBRA Network database of the Federal University of Minas Gerais. There were 1,373 older adult participants, subdivided into three groups: 1) non-obese; 2) non-sarcopenic obese; and 3) sarcopenic obese (SO). The latter is defined as a BMI ≥30 kg/m2 and weak palmar grip strength (PGS). Results: The overall prevalence of obesity and SO among older adults was 25.85% and 4.44%, respectively, with levels of frailty and pre-frailty among at 36.1% and 59%, respectively. Gait speed (GS) was lower in the SO group as well, compared to the other groups. An average increase in GS of 0.1 m/sec reduced the likelihood of SO by 85.1%, in average. Sarcopenic obese older adults were 14.2 times more likely to be pre-fragile and 112.9 times more likely to be fragile than the other groups. Conclusion: The prevalence of obesity found in this study was higher than that in the general population, but similar to national statistics for the sample’s mean age and gender. SO was directly associated with frailty in advanced and instrumental activities of daily living as well as gait speed and significantly increased the likelihood of being pre-frail and frail. GS may be an extremely useful tool for monitoring the progress of SO in older adults.