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Oxford University Press, The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 7(75), p. 1346-1352, 2019

DOI: 10.1093/gerona/glz233



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Sarcopenia Characteristics Are Associated with Incident Mobility Limitations in African Caribbean Men: The Tobago Longitudinal Study of Aging

This paper is made freely available by the publisher.
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.

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Abstract Background Sarcopenia varies by ethnicity, and has a major impact on health in older adults. However, little is known about sarcopenia characteristics in African ancestry populations outside the United States. We examined sarcopenia characteristics in 2,142 African Caribbean men aged 59.0 ± 10.4 years (range: 40–92 years) in Tobago, and their association with incident mobility limitations in those aged 55+ (n = 738). Methods Body mass index (BMI), grip strength, dual-x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) appendicular lean mass (ALM), and self-reported mobility limitations were measured at baseline, and 6 years later. Change in sarcopenia characteristics, including grip strength, grip strength/BMI, ALMBMI, and ALM/ht2, were determined. Foundations for the National Institutes of Health Sarcopenia Project (FNIH) and European Working Group for Sarcopenia in Older People 2 (EWGSOP2) cut-points were also examined. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for mobility limitation were calculated using multivariable linear regression models adjusted for covariates. Results Overall, sarcopenia prevalence was quite low using the FNIH (0.3%) and EWGSOP2 (0.6%) operational cut-points, but was higher in those aged 75+ (2.1% [FNIH] and 3.7% [EWGSOP2]). Prevalence was also higher when based on “weakness”, versus “low ALM.” When sarcopenia markers were examined separately, baseline levels, but not changes, were associated with incident mobility limitations. Baseline grip strength/BMI was a particularly strong risk factor for incident mobility limitations (OR per SD: 0.50; 95% CI: 0.37–0.68). Conclusions Our findings suggest that grip strength normalized to body mass, measured at one time point, may be a particularly useful phenotype for identifying African Caribbean men at risk for future mobility limitations.